I think we can all agree that small talk is the worst. It's awkward, weird and really unfulfilling. As I've gotten older though it's become pretty obvious that small talk is an unfortunate requirement. Whether it's in the elevator at work or riding the bus around Disney World, there are going to be times when chit chat is necessary.
As an extrovert and people person, small talking comes almost naturally to me. Almost! My husband says I could talk to a brick wall. That might be true, but I still get a little nervous when it comes to starting conversations and making them meaningful. We could all just blurt out what's on our minds, but that doesn't mean what comes out is going to be interesting or helpful.
I'm also a natural researcher and have made it a project to observe people who seem to have small talking down to a science. Putting a few things into practice has really changed my whole attitude about small talk and I thought I'd share those tips today!
As awkward as this step sounds, trust me, it's invaluable! It is so helpful to have a few conversation starters in your back pocket. Keeping up with current events, tv shows or a having a really interesting article to bring up will make sure you have something to talk about. It doesn't have to be anything deep or controversial.
For example: Have you heard that there are new designs for Barbie dolls? What do you think of them? Do you think it's just a money making thing? Were you into Barbies as a kid?
two// Ask Questions
I would argue that this is the most important step in making small talk. People love to talk about themselves! It's easy and they know all the answers. The key here is to ask specific questions, without being nosey. A general question, like "How are you?" is going to get a general answer, like "Good."
Try: "Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?" Once they reply you can follow up with additional questions.
three// Ask for Advice
This tip is a little more situational and kind of depends on who you are talking to. People love being useful and helpful. They will walk away from this kind of conversation feeling really good about how it went.
Here's one: My husband and I are trying to pick a place to eat tonight, have you tried any new restaurants lately? What should I order?
If you offer a genuine compliment you will put the other person at ease and they may open up to you more. Again, make this a sincere compliment. Instead of saying a shallow "Oh, I love your shoes, where did you get them?" try: "I noticed you always look so put together, where do you get your outfit inspiration?" Asking where someone bought something can cause them to feel defensive. They could feel embarrassed about where they got it. Plus, are you really going to go out and buy the same ones? Instead, asking them about their style is more flattering and opens the door to so many other questions about their inspiration, where they like to shop and maybe even how they organize their closet.
Leave me a comment: Do you hate small talk? What are your go-to topics?