When someone tells you that they are going to a car show, an amateur persuader for example would try to connect to that person through cars.
"Oh, a car show! What kind of cars do you like?" - this is fine at times but when you only deal with things, you tend to not connect with the human behind them.
More profound is connecting through the identity: the fundamental set of beliefs, desires, fears, status, experiences and social ques that brought them to the car show in the first place.
Are they going to the car show to be different or to fit in? Are they trying to connect with people or win at the car show?
The "thing" as nothing to do with it, once you uncover the vibrancy of the emotions and motives under it.