1) The weather (how good or bad it’s been lately, whether the other person likes it)
2) Sports (how local teams– professional, collegiate– have been doing)
3) Pay a compliment (interesting tie, I liked your presentation, your kids are so cute)
4) What the other person has been doing lately
5) Family (spouse, kids, siblings)
6) Where are you from (Have you always lived in the area?)
7) School (Are you going to school? What are you studying? Do you like it?)
8) Work (Where do you work?)
9) Movies (Have you seen that movie that just came out?)
10) Books they’ve read (What are you reading now? Do you recommend it? What are your favorite authors?)
11) Current events (Have you been to that new museum exhibit? I’m glad they finished the road construction in town. [NOT hot-button issues!])
12) Hobbies (What do you like to do in your spare time?)