Some people think small talk is pointless, which is an absolute mistake. Mastering this art can provide you with personal gains and professional benefits. However, making small talk can be difficult for some people. They may feel like they don’t know what to say or may be afraid to say the wrong thing. Here’re some tips and easy ways you should try that will help you make great small talk.
Why small talk is important
Small talk may appear to be a waste of time, but it is essential for developing relationships. Small talk can help you learn about the other person and find common ground.
Just try to remember: How did you make a strange relationship familiar? The answer could be “small talk.” Using small talk constructively alongside other activities can make your daily life more successful and straightforward. You never knew who you’d run into next.
Besides, small talk can help to build rapport and make the other person feel more at ease around you. Feel free to make small talk the next time you’re at a networking event or meeting someone new. It could be the beginning of an excellent friendship.
Make eye contact, smile, and ask questions
To make fantastic small talk, eye contact and a smile are key because making eye contact shows that you are interested in the conversation and the person you are talking to, which will help put the other person at ease and make them willing to talk to you.
Once you have made eye contact and smiled, you can start asking questions, which is crucial to keeping the conversation going. It is essential to keep the questions light and easy to answer.
But it would help if you avoided controversial topics or anything that could potentially make the other person uncomfortable. Remember these, and you will be well on your way to starting great small talk.
Restate what they say and ask follow-up questions
Active listening is a conversation technique that requires the listener to give feedback on what they understand to the speaker and then ask questions to clarify their understanding.
Active listening shows that you’re interested in the conversation and want to hear more. Knowing how to make small talk can be challenging, especially if you’re shy or introverted.
However, active listening can help you carry on a conversation, even if you don’t feel like talking much. To practice active listening, try repeating what the other person said and then asking a follow-up question. For example, if someone tells you they’re from out of town, you might say something like, “Oh, so you’re visiting?”
Provide thoughtful responses
Using the mirroring technique, you may also give an answer that shows you’ve given it some serious thought. Nodding in acknowledgment, sharing a similar story, or laughing and appreciating the other person’s experience is appropriate even in unfamiliar social situations.
Topics to start a small talk
1. The weather. You can use this neutral way to begin your conversation regardless of today’s weather. Well, it’s a tried-and-true opener for everyone.
2. Current Events. Remember the exciting things happening in the world now. If you read the news in the morning, this is an excellent time to share what you know with the other person, including local events, global situations, sports games, etc. Of course, avoid topics that may spark debate or conflict, such as politics, religion, personal finances, gossip, or anything offensive.
3. Work. Working is a shared interest as long as you work for the same place. For instance, something you’re working on or a forthcoming event.
4. Interests. Discussing what you do in your spare time is a quick way to identify shared interests. Adopting a cat? Playing the guitar? Every hobbit is acceptable to discuss.
5. Food. Everyone needs to eat, and starting a conversation about food or a restaurant can be very effective.
Practice makes perfect
You’ve followed the tips and practiced making small talk. Now what? Just like with any skill, practice makes perfect. But you have to be patient with yourself. It takes time to get comfortable talking to new people. If you are waiting to see results immediately, keep practicing.
It would help if you talked to different types of people. The more practice you have talking to different kinds of people, the easier it will be to find common ground with anyone.
What’s more, make small talk in different situations. Practice making small talk in various settings, from networking events to dinner parties to waiting in line at the grocery store.