Tips for a SMT Newbie

I consider myself to be a JRPG enthusiast, so I typically know my way around anything in the genre I play. However, I've never played any SMT games before, nor have I played any Persona games. I'm starting out, and I feel lost, confused, and otherwise perplexed by the stats, battle system, and game as a whole.

I've tried talking to every possible person I can, and that's gotten me so far, but as far as what's going on when I battle, or how I should be thinking about building my party, I'm just lost. Does anyone have any tips? I've looked at FAQs and guides, but there doesn't seem to be much for the game yet. Any help or direction would be appreciated.