Are you the kind of person who finds small talk tedious or difficult? Whether it’s with clients or in an interview setting, small talk is an important skill no matter what industry you work in. Luckily, it’s not a difficult skill to master. Today’s article discusses a number of ways that you can make small talk easier and more enjoyable, even if you don’t consider yourself to be an extrovert. Read on for some helpful tips from All-Star Personnel to get you talking.
Find a Common Connection
Good conversation is all about finding common ground. Whether it’s a shared interest, experience, college, sports team, professional connection, etc., you are sure to strike up an enthusiastic conversation if you are able to find some commonality with whomever you are speaking with. Small talk doesn’t have to be about something as benign as the weather. Take special care to note what the person is wearing, what they say, and your surroundings for clues as to what a shared connection might be. It’s also a good idea to hone in on a topic that you are especially interested or passionate in. That way you will be more engaged in the conversation and interesting to speak with.
When people say that practice makes perfect, they aren’t kidding. Even if you find yourself feeling awkward when engaging others in small talk, the more opportunities you have to practice in low-pressure situations, the more likely you will be to succeed in high-pressure scenarios. Talk to everyone about anything, just to get in the habit of striking up a conversation. If you find yourself waiting in line at the bank or stuck in traffic on the bus, your fellow customers or bus riders are perfect subjects to practice your small talk skills on.
People generally like talking to other people who are upbeat and positive. It makes them feel good. To create that positivity in your own interactions is to ensure that even if the topic of conversation isn’t particularly stimulating, the other participant walks away from the chat feeling good about the interaction. The best way to do this is to smile, make good eye contact, focus on positive topics (avoid politics and religion at all costs), and try not to complain or be sarcastic in your conversation.
People love talking to other people about themselves, so if you are looking for a way to strike up a conversation with a stranger, start with a question. Ask them about their interests (based on those contextual clues mentioned above) and listen to their response. Try not to be too nosy, as this can make the other person uncomfortable, but also show interest in them and what they have to say. Just remember to avoid yes or no questions, and they’ll be chatting happily away in no time.
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