Seinfeld’s technique for small talk

Following on from a piece about how to handle the way we writers feel in social gatherings – seriously, normal people say parties, I am such a writer – there is this. Jerry Seinfeld has advice for what to do when talking to someone and it’s getting tricky.

It’s from his web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and an edition with comedian Amy Schumer. Here’s the whole episode, on account of a) I can’t just link to the tiny segment and 2) I enjoyed the whole episode while trying to get you a link.

But the technique is just this: ask questions – and specifically ask people questions that require numbers in the answer. Now watch on for why.

Intentionally awkward office furniture for writers

With shelves that are a little out of reach and a chair that requires balancing, the idea is introduce a “bearable discomfort” to make life a little less smooth–and a little more healthy.

This Deliberately Inconvenient Furniture Forces You To Be Active And Not Just Lie On The Couch – Adele Peters, Fast Company (26 August 2014)

Right. I’m thinking that I might be able to solve that “shelves that are a little out of reach” design by pulling the bloody things closer. But:

French designer Benoît Malta, by contrast, is creating products that are purposely a little less convenient, so people are forced to get up more often. And even if they stay seated, they’re forced to sit in an active way.

“Domestic activities are less and less physical,” says Malta. “I decided to work on different typical daily situations like turning on a light or reading email on a computer, and I tried to design objects that modify our habits and try to engage the body differently in everyday life.”

Read Peters’ full piece for photographs of example designs including a chair that you have to balance on rather that flop over. I don’t expect to flip over it either.