Early, light conversations with new people are often an opportunity to make a great impression, and people often want to leave those conversations feeling as though they’re well-liked by the other party. Here’s an easy little reminder for how to behave in those conversations – use the acronym CHARM.

Care genuinely about the other person and what they have to say. This isn’t a trick or a con – none of this works if you’re just trying to manipulate. If you’re not in a good place to be ready to care about other people’s stories, then don’t focus on meeting new people today.

Hear the other person. Like, hear them. Don’t wait for your turn to talk by coming up with pithy things to say.

Ask questions. If your first response to anything they say is your own opinion on the subject or unsolicited advice, then you’re not going to come across as someone who actually connects with them.

React accordingly. You’re allowed to have facial expressions and emotional reactions! You don’t have to keep a “straight face” during a conversation just to make it look like you’re listening intently. Being able to read another person’s reactions makes it easier to communicate with them.

Meet them where they are. You don’t have to use every conversation as an opportunity to advance your own agenda, talk about your favorite subject, or get someone to give you some benefit. If a person just wants to vent about their sick cat, let them. Show a little empathy, tell them you’re sorry about their pet. If you talk again, you’ll have gained that much more trust. And if you never talk again, you’ll have brightened someone’s life a little.

That’s it. Go talk.

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