1. Learn to juggle
Starting a conversation is an exercise in multitasking. "Learn to make and hold eye contact, smile, give a positive affirmation, lift your hand up in greeting and say something pithy," advises Elise. "That's how you create a good vibe."
2. Avoid inquisitions
Asking questions shows interest, but don't overdo it. "Anyone who has been trapped on a plane next to an inquisitor knows it's horrible," Elise says. "Avoid pushing the conversation along with questions; use statements instead."
3. Make big talk
Dispense with talk about the weather and go straight to grand theories of the universe. "People often welcome more significant conversation," says Elise. "The best subject, however, is what's been on the mind of your new friend lately."
4. Talk like you're friends
Statements that include both of you in the same storyline establish fast rapport, such as: "I don't know about you, but I could go for a burger right now." "These sort of statements encourage interaction without demanding it," says Elise.
5. Don't brag
When it comes to self-promotion, subtlety is required. "You finished second in your age group at the London Marathon. You can rebuild an Aston Martin's clutch in 30 minutes. Great, but hold back. Let them find out later."
6. Be silly
People trust you when you trust them enough to let your guard down. "Tell an embarrassing story," Elise suggests. "Try out your bad American accent. Laugh at yourself, and people will feel more inclined to open up to you."
7. Don't fix their problems
Strangers often complain as a safe way of making conversation. "You don't have to fix their problems," Elise says. "It's more constructive for your friendship to reassure them they have the ability to solve the problems themselves."
8. Don't think -- listen
It's tempting to spend the time they are talking planning what you're going to say next. Don't -- just listen to what they're saying. "The answer to the riddle of flowing conversation is not in your head," says Elise. "It's right in front of you."
This article was first published in the March 2013 issue of WIRED magazine