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It’s easy to get free information from a stranger. This doesn’t mean trying to learn someone’s credit card number. What it means is learning the other person’s name, interests, personal situation and more. Most people are more than eager to give away this information if it’s requested in the proper way. In fact, people will tend to follow your lead in offering information. That’s why you say your name first. And the more you give, the more they will, too.

If you say, “Hi, I’m Carlos,” you’re likely to get “Hi, I’m Paul.” If you start with “Hi, I’m Carlos García,” you’ll probably get “Hi, I’m Paul Tanaka.” And if you start with “Hi, I’m Carlos García, I’m a friend of Gail’s,” Paul will probably respond in a similar way:“Hi, I’m Paul Tanaka, and I work with Gail’s husband.”

When you add information tags to your name, people tend to respond to them because you’ve offered them the opportunity. If they don’t respond, you’ve at least set up the situation. They know what you want, so give them a little encouragement. A raised eyebrow or a straight-out “And you?” will spur them on.

The idea is to respectfully gather as much information as possible by first offering information about yourself. You can use this information to broaden and deepen your rapport. This is something to get your teeth into. You are building momentum.