If you’ve never mastered the art of small talk, then you can probably settle for mastering the art of small talk. This is a necessity in any social or professional setting, and small talk is the lesser evil, when you compare it to enduring a long, drawn out, awkward silence.
Working up the courage to approach someone will be much easier if you use the art of making small talk. Now, if the thought of saying the first word and having small talk is enough to make your palm sweat, then you need to know how to overcome these fears and insecurities. Here are some tips to keep in mind when making small talk:
1. If you hate the idea of small talk, take comfort in the fact that lots of other people hate it too. You can motivate yourself by thinking that breaking an awkward silence is up to you and you should take the first step and make small talk. It may be easier said than done, but once you start, the next time it will be much easier. First of all, you need to work up the courage to get out of his way and start having small talk. An informal greeting or comment is a great way to start.
2. Making small talk is a way to connect with other people, so you want to make sure you do everything you can to make the other person feel as comfortable as possible. If you have no idea what to talk about, choose neutral and general points of interest.
Weather and traffic may be tired topics, but they’re a surefire way to start a conversation. From there you can move on to more general points of interest such as movies, music, concerts, a book you just read, news, current events, a popular TV show – the possibilities are endless.
3. Remember to keep things short and casual. When making small talk, casual is the key word. In any given situation, whether you’re talking to a neighbor, the grocer, the bartender, or someone from work, conversing is the way to connect with them in a very basic and social way. Be polite, remain courteous, know your limits, and don’t be too nosy when looking for things to talk about or looking for common ground.
You wouldn’t reveal your innermost secrets to a complete stranger, so you need to broaden your knowledge of common topics to get started. Getting to know the other person on a casual level and finding common ground are two of the most basic goals for making small talk. If you refuse to respond at even the slightest chance that another person wants to have a conversation with you, then you are denying yourself the opportunity to improve your personal and professional relationships with other people.
4. Be sensitive, courteous, and responsive to other people’s reactions, as well as the situation, when you have small talk. In order to survive in any given situation, you need to learn to adapt to any given situation. When you’ve just joined a group that’s already in the middle of a conversation, try to avoid any comments that might offend or are extremely irrelevant to the topic at hand. When you’re with a large number of people, try to listen more than you talk and don’t try to hog the conversation.
Participating in a conversation is a social necessity, and you may enjoy the process if you know the small talk, the proper approach, how to keep the conversation flowing, and finally, how to make a graceful exit.