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At your next event, remind yourself that it’s less about empty chit-chat and more about making connections. By forgetting everything you thought you knew about networking small talk and, instead, tapping into the science of good conversation!Here are six strategies for being the most popular person to talk to at your next networking event.Sound expert Julian Treasure says conversation killers include gossip, judgment, negativity, complaining, exaggeration, accusations, and being a “blame-thrower.” These types of communication are simply hard to listen to, he says.According to Treasure, the four powerful cornerstones of good conversation spell HAIL: honesty (being clear and straight), authenticity (being yourself), integrity (actually doing what you say you will), and love (wishing people well).Eliciting stories from people you’re just meeting can also help you get a lot more information, as well as a better understanding of where they are coming from, both literally and metaphorically. Slipping some details into small talk can elevate the conversation to a greater level of engagement.So, if someone asks where you’re from, add a bit of trivia about your hometown.

Instead of spending time trying to convince someone to see your side of an issue (a.k.a., trying to be controversial and groundbreaking), share a positive thought that’s mutually beneficial and useful to the person you’re talking to.

Or if someone asks what you do, talk briefly about what drew you to the profession.

Either answer should lead to the person inquiring more about what you said, which gets you away from chit-chat and closer to having a memorable exchange.

A great approach is to come in with some great conversation starters to aid in the effort to draw people out.

For example, instead of talking to someone about how his or her week is going, you can get specific and ask, “What was the highlight of your week?

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