In this new article, you will find out how to make small talk. Many people are afraid of small talk because they feel they aren’t good at it. The prospect of spending two hours at a cocktail party mingling with a cocktail party can be daunting, as can the prospect of spending an afternoon visiting in-laws.
Small talk, however, is like any other skill – it can be learned. It took me years to learn the easy keys contained in this article, but you can learn them in minutes and begin having more effective and enjoyable small talk today.
These skills will help you succeed professionally and in your social life, but they will also make life more enjoyable. Conversation does not must be a painful test of endurance. They can in fact be fun if you apply the five keys found in this article.
How to make small talk:
1. Know Your Goals
Imagine that you have decided to write your autobiography. What will occur to your writing process if you settle on a theme (for example, “how have I overcome adversity in my life”) rather than just doing open-ended writing? Would choosing a theme for your story make it easier or tougher to write?
For most people, it is easier to write by theme, because theme will dictate what you should include or leave out of the story (eg, “Should I include a chapter about the time I went fishing with Uncle Ed? ? No, that’s not really what it’s about). overcoming difficulties.”) Without a theme, you will not have a standard by which to decide whether to include a particular event.
The same goes for small talk. If you want to automatically know what to say to someone in a particular conversation, start by selecting a conversation objective.
Your goal can be as easy as impressing other people. Other possibilities include (a) finding answers to certain questions, (b) studying other people, or (c) arranging future meetings.
During a conversation, your goals will likely be apparent to others, so make sure to choose ones that aren’t embarrassing. However, the undeniable fact that you are pursuing a goal will help both participants avoid the awkwardness of speaking aimlessly. The goal is to create the impression that this conversation is going someplace.
2. Canned Stories
When I was in business school preparing for job interviews, the career counselor taught me to prepare for interviews by having ten canned stories from my previous work experiences that illustrate certain points about me. For example, I have one story to show that I’m a hard worker, another story to show that I’m a team player, and so on. Following their advice helped me do well in interviews and land jobs that I love.
This technique also works for small talk. Have a number of stories (ten is a good number) that you can access from memory at any time. This has to be a very good story – not just a time filler. Choose ten stories that captivate and appeal to listeners.
These stories haven’t got to be from your own life – they can be interesting stories you see on the news. However, the best stories are the things you experienced that will interest other people.
When you end up in a slow or boring conversation, throw in one of your canned stories that fit the conversation.
However, there’s one major pitfall with this strategy: People do not like hearing the same story twice. Your canned stories will work well when you are talking to people for the first time, but if you are also with old colleagues, watch out not to bore them with repetition.
3. Choose Partners
Once, I attempted to strike up a friendship with a colleague, and nothing seemed to progress. At home, I would complain to my wife about how he did not give me the time, and that I would try to determine what I could do to change that.
Finally, tired of my complaining, my wife told me about the bestseller “He’s Just Not That Into You.” I did not read it, but my understanding is that it suggests to women that if the man they’re pursuing romantically is not going to reciprocate, they should go and pursue one of the billions of other men out there. This was a terrific suggestion for me, and that I started looking to other coworkers for connections.
That advice holds true in the world of small talk as well. Sometimes you get stuck talking to someone (eg a relative or employer) whether you like it or not. But generally you must choose who to engage in small talk.
At a cocktail party (or other open social event), you may find yourself talking to someone who is not interested in you no matter what you say or do. The problem is not that you are unattractive – the problem is that the other person chooses not to be drawn to you. In those situations, you generally just end the conversation and talk to one of the dozens of other people in the room.
Instead of trying to turn people into the type of person who will enjoy talking to you, look for people who are naturally inclined to like you. They will generally be the easiest people to find, as they have a tendency to be in the same places as you, doing the same things as you.
The most significant part of conversation starters is your body language. If you offer a firm handshake, a smile, and a confident posture, what you say does not really matter. But it sure is simpler to be confident and smile when you have something valuable to say. Here are some suggestions:
The traditional opener (“Hi, I’m…” followed by another person introducing himself) is
Okay. When meeting new people it’s difficult to avoid this ritual of exchanging names, because both of them want to know who the other person is talking to.
The effective opening key is what comes next. After exchanging introductions, you should instantly offer a subject that’s clearly of mutual interest. For example, if you are at a professional meeting, mingling between sessions, it can be easy to ask, “So what did you think of that first speaker?”
In small talk situations with people you already know, it is only natural to ask questions about general interest topics that are in the news (for example, “What do you think of North Korea’s missile tests?”).
Ending a conversation can be awkward because the conclusion of an exchange signals that one party is no longer interested in talking, while the other party may wish to continue. How do you go out gracefully when you truly want to go?
One easy closing is “prior commitment.” If you are having lunch with a colleague and you want to get out of the conversation, you can look at your watch and say, “Oh, wow – I have a phone conference at work at 1:00. I must go.” This was unlikely to offend anyone.
At an open-air cocktail party where you want to leave one conversation to start another, you can use a similar closing by citing a need for more food or drink: “Excuse me – I skipped lunch today, so I really need to buy something to eat.” ”, or “I think I’ll go buy another drink.”
Either way, end with a sweet note like, “It was a pleasure talking to you.” Conclusion
The five keys contained in this article are the tools you need to start excelling at small talk. Learning these keys is step 1 on your journey to conversational proficiency. Step 2 is implementation.
Take the ideas you’ve learned here and use them in conversation as soon as possible. Over the next few weeks, view your small talk opportunities as classrooms – opportunities to hone your skills for future use.
By improving your small talk skills, you will open yourself up to new friendships, better relationships, and an interesting world of engagement.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article on how to make small talk. I really hope that its content has been of good help to you.