We are all humans, we need to connect with others at some point. Whether it’s a corporate social gathering, an elevator ride with a colleague or during a meet-up. It’s more of a necessity than an option. These initial conversations with new people always have to start with small talk.
Here’s how to handle some of that small talk with ease, and like you mean it.
Remember that you are talking to a person
Everyone has their insecurities. So, when talking to that person you met at that event, don’t assume they are confident and always know what to say. Just look for commonalities in their nature rather than comparing looks, accomplishments and financial status.
Yes, you’re nervous but so are other people.
Give your full attention
So that instead of letting your mind focus on what you’ll say next, listen to what is being said so that you can respond in an engaging way
(smile, that resting bitch face won’t do the magic).
You don’t have to overthink things, just be present in the conversation.
Don’t try to figure out the next question before they have answered (this is something I was very good at). Keep in mind that it’s a conversation not a job interview.
It Does not have to be pointless
moment one mentions anything to do with small talk, people start
thinking of conversations that involve meaningless comments about the
The key to small talk, especially for introverts is harnessing your powers of listening and observation.
about that tattoo on their arm. People love to talk about those. If you
happen to meet a book nerd, ask about the book they are currently
reading or the blogs they follow. (Please don’t ask what their favorite
book is, it’s hard to answer that when you have so many favorites.)
You could also give a sincere compliment, especially on something the other person is wearing.
However, the best conversation starter is when the other person is demonstrating a skill or passion of theirs. Maybe they wrote a blog post, like yours truly over here. People love talking about their passion, if you find a way to get to that, you’ll have a good conversation and probably learn something new.
However, be sure to keep things light. Steer well clear of sensitive topics like religion or politics. Keep your relationship drama out of it. If you need to, share relatable information about yourself, that people can appreciate and learn from. For example, the things you’re most passionate about — hobbies, art, job, family.
All along, just maintain an optimistic tone with upbeat energy.
Find Common Ground
Common ground does not have to be Star Wars or Game of Thrones, it could be anything. You could be from the same town or it could be people you both know. Even an appreciation of food or music works as well.
If it’s more than two people, try to include everyone in the conversation by widening the scope of discussion.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions give the other person an opportunity to share. This is how you expand the common ground. Keep asking questions that can’t be answered by a one-liner.
Instead of asking “How was your weekend?” ask “What was a highlight of your weekend?”
Pay attention to body language as well, and that way you can make an observation of what seems to be important to them and steer the conversation that way.
It’s only natural that after you’ve spoken for a while, you’ll want to end the conversation and move on. Let the other person know that you’ve enjoyed the conversation, by picking on something you found interesting and referencing it: “I really enjoyed speaking with you about art, Joseph. I hope we’ll chat again soon. “
Then off you go, guilt-free.
If you want to build lasting relationships, you have to get to know people first, and the only way to do that is by talking to them, which usually starts with small talk.
There’s no such thing as strangers, just friends we haven’t met yet.
The next time a need for small talk arises, give it a chance. It doesn’t have to be dull or awkward. You don’t have to be brilliant or charming, being nice is enough. You might have fun.