Note: This story originally appeared Sunday, October 30, 2005
Notice the small in "small talk." Avoid big topics such as politics, religion or your ex.
Avoid cliches. "Come here often?" is out. Instead, say "Have you tried the martinis here?"
Make use of your current events habit. Start a question with "Have you heard ...?"
Leave them wanting more. Heed the "Mingling Maven" Susan RoAne: "Be bright. Be brief. Be gone."
Sources: ehow.com, askmen.com, cnn.com