So much wisdom in Clarissa Pinkola Estes's audio "How to Become an Elder."
She speaks of being an aid in an elder home and how visitors would make strained conversation with their family members. But she, a very young woman at the time, and someone who did not know these elders well, would be able to engege them in lively dialog by talking about things she was interested in. She was learning about how Egyptians used to regard cats as gods, and that got some very lively conversations going. Pretty much everyone she spoke with had known a mystical cat in their lifetime.
Actually, that's my advice for business conversations, too. Usually, sharing what juices you gets great connection going. What do you enjoy talking about? It might result in blank stares, but it sure beats picking a topic because someone thought someone might enjoy talking about it.
I think of my friend Barb who teaches yoga. Everyone enjoys her yoga class. Why? Largely because she does.