Most religious conversations I have with people outside of our religion generally start from them asking about the symbols that I wear, ( I wear a Valknut and a Thor's Hammer usually, though sometimes I wear the runestones I bought when I was in Iceland), or when they see me reading one of my growing library of books handwritten in Modern Runic. If they ask about the symbols I wear I explain not only what they mean in the context of our religious beliefs, but also the misconceptions that most people have about these symbols. Generally the conversation ends at this point because the light pops on in their head and they realize that I am a Pagan. Should they continue the conversation I usually steer them away from the negative preconceptions they have about our religion and try to point out the good points and points of similarity between the religions; morals, love of our Gods etc...
When they ask about the runic writing, I explain that I write in the ancient letters to honor Great Odin, who gave them to us, and I read the Eddas and Sagas written in this form because it makes me feel closer to the Gods and Goddesses. If I am talking to a Jewish person I make the comparison of my handwritten Eddas and their handwritten Torahs.
I always try to keep the conversations light and very matter-of-fact in tone. I never push our religion or try to make it sound like a sales pitch or an apology. If a difference of opinion is beginning to turn into an argument I simply end the discussion as amiably as possible and cheerfully tell them it was nice talking to them and that they should have a nice day. Continuing to argue a point will only enflame the situation and cause more ill will.
The one thing I never do is apologize for my beliefs or the other Pagan groups. I speak only for myself. I am never a spokesman, (and do not have the right to be a spokesman), for other groups within the Pagan realm. If they say something derogatory against another Pagan religion, I simply tell them that they have nothing to do with our religion and therefore I cannot speak on their behalf. I always, however, defend their right to exist and practice their form of Paganism.
The final thing that I always try to do is make sure that I look presentable in public. I try to dress to a higher degree than the average person and keep my hair short, neat and clean. I feel that in public I am representing my religion and my Gods and Goddesses. Appearance is always the first and last impression that people have of you so I try to make it a good one.
Using this formula I would have to say that at least 90% of all my experiences have been good speaking to those outside of our religion. Occassionally I still get the, " Your going to Hell ", puritanical Christian but I brush them off as extremists. I feel it is an important duty of ours to show our religion in a good light and will continue now until I die to promote our religion and good relations with other religions.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !