One smart thing to know about public speaking and presenting: The same skills that help you speak to a large crowd can help you speak to a smaller group, or just one person. You can use message development skills to plan ahead what you want to say when asked about any situation--from what you do for a living to what you think of the event you're attending--and use confidence-building skills to get through difficult conversations.
A good start for those more focused speaking situations is the book A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation, which advocates active listening and paying attention to body language when you're conversing with someone. Author Daniel Menaker did an interview with The Splendid Table, since lots of these conversations take place around the dinner table, with tips and advice for your next conversation:
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