…Is to get the other person talking. How you do this is simple: ask questions until you find something that they care about. No matter how reticent your counterpart, anyone will start talking when you ask the right question. Conversations hit dead ends because people never get to that question.
The thing you must remember is the right question is often not the one that you think it is. Someone who’s well-known for writing may not be very excited to talk that much about it; that’s all they ever get asked about.
Remotely, find out about them — Google is a good place to start. Ask people who know them well. Read their blogs and Facebook profiles or Twitter timelines. Peruse Instagram accounts. You’ll have a very good idea of whom you’re dealing with when you can see what a person decides to share that’s 100% their choice to share.
In person, learn to probe indirectly and pay attention to non-verbal signals — how someone dresses, what makes them perk up, what they do when left alone.
Everyone you see and meet wants to tell you all about themselves because we are all narcissists at heart. You just have to provide the platform.