Alec Baldwin's secret to great conversations

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When preparing for his podcast ‘Here’s The Thing’, Alec Baldwin and his production team invest a lot of time seeking to answer one simple question: “What’s the billiard break?”

If you’re playing billiards, pool or snooker, a great break opens up the balls so they’re perfectly positioned to pot. One follows the other, follows the other.

The whole game is mapped out, yet only emerges gradually.Baldwin’s question isn’t about playing pool, though.

For him the billiard break is the question he can ask to open up the entire conversation. A great billiard break question leads to the best possible set of questions and answers - all set up, and full of interesting angles to play. Perhaps there are a couple of trick shots in there, too.

But here’s the thing (sorry). The billiard break doesn’t need to be reserved for podcasts.

- How about using it in a job interview?

- Onboarding with a new team member?

- In a 1:1 with a close collaborator?

- To assess if a new client or customer is someone you want to work with?

What's the question that opens up the whole conversation?

And as with every game, no two breaks are ever quite the same.

Which is why even the best players keep coming back to the table.

P.S. A word of warning: unfortunately every pool hall has a few hustlers.