Anyone who‘s been caught at a wedding reception or a networking event discussing the recent weather patterns knows that making small talk isn‘t as easy as it sounds
Now I understand that it may seem strange to focus on the skill of small talk. Next to more formal business skills, such as networking or building an elevator pitch. Chitchat just doesn’t seem like it should be a top priority.
However I’ve learned, that being a good small talker is absolutely vital to your professional success. It is in fact the precursor to any relationship building
The best way to strike up conversation with almost anyone is to find a topic that you are both interested in. This ensures:
a. that you will both enjoy the conversation and
b. Science has proven that by sharing a common experience or interest with someone makes that person more inclined to like you.
There are many topics of conversation that you can talk about but here’s a few examples:
I’m looking for a good read, Have you read any good books lately? I’ve recently read this book… have you heard of it? What type of book genres do you enjoy reading?
Do you play/watch any sports? What did you think about the game this past weekend?
Have you seen the blockbuster that got released last weekend? Or have you ever seen Game of Thrones(or whatever series is popular at the moment)?
These are a few suggestions that just making starting a conversation with an acquaintance that little bit easier. Remember small talk, isn’t about being the smartest person in the room. It’s about making people feel comfortable enough to open up to you.
For some, small talk comes naturally, but for others, it can be pretty tricky. Most people tend to get especially nervous when they talk to someone senior at their organization, because they want to make a good impression without coming across as boring.
Therefore it would help to know that the most charming conversationalists, speak the Least, ask the most questions, and listen Intently.
Lastly, you want to avoid discussing the following:
Your health or diet habits; the cost of things; personal questions; mean gossip; controversial issues and of course, politics, sex and religion.
Remember becoming a gifted conversationalist comes with experience. You have to practice finding out what interests people.
I was once told that the art of small talk is like fishing. You attach a ‘topic’ to your hook and cast it out and you keep casting out a new topic until you get a bite, the mutually interested person. Once you do, small talk becomes as easy as breathing.