In the podcast "How To Engage Your Seatmate" it is suggested that these steps be used through methods of transit including the subway.  While the underlying principle of engaging people wherever you are is the ethical professional way to handle oneself, I am not certain on how to change my approach in these scenarios.

I ride the city bus quite frequently.  As such I am usually sharing my seat with someone.  While I should engage everyone without discrimination, I find that these scenarios tend to include a higher percentage of unemployed individuals in which these questions might seem inappropriate.

How should I be adjusting my behavior to maintain professionalism without being inappropriate.

Singers's picture


I have struggled with this myself and still need to push away my natural behaviour. I have found a couple of questions work great for me no matter if it's unemployeed people or even elderly people.

"Are you coming or going?" - "do you take this Train/bus/x often?" - asking for help is also often useful "I need to get to X, my plan is to go to station X and change to this bus, would you happen to know if there's any better way?" 
I have also done quite okay with some sort of statements: "I wish I was in a car instead, when the weather is like today" - not sure why, but though this is not really a question people tend to respond to this one quite well.

Thinking about it I spend very little time talking about work etc ;)

Kind Regards

Mads Sorensen

Disc 4536

asteriskrntt1's picture

How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie... it is gold.

What the podcast presents is a basic format.  They are not rules of nature. You are allowed to deviate.  If the person has a cool tatoo, ask what it means, if they are reading a book, ask about the book.  Really, just have a short polite conversation with them without any aim to get something out of it.  Be a free giver, not a giver who needs reciprocation.