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Survive Holiday Party Small Talk with the FORD Technique

Image via Hadi Djunaedi/

Holiday parties are a great opportunity to relax and catch up with your colleagues. At least, in theory...

For many, holiday parties are a dreaded annual exercise: an hours long endurance test in small talk and social anxiety.

Mastering small talk can go a long way toward reducing the stress and forced awkwardness that can accompany a holiday party. For those not born with the gift of gab, don’t fret. Use the FORD technique to get you through:

  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Recreation
  • Dreams

Ask a few questions about any of the above categories and a conversation is likely to ensue. Even consider committing a few questions to memory.

Head over to Reddit for a few more small talk tips. Do you know any techniques for starting a conversation with somebody you don’t know? 

(Image via Hadi Djunaedi/

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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