For video version go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rACwKPwc58
Small talk is often awkward, and here are 5 tricks that can help you in these situations.
- Do not make it sound like a survey… make it engaging
The easiest way to small talk is to ask about biographical information, like where they come from, what they do for a living, their education etc. Even though this is very common, try to make the questions a bit more engaging, since it is rather boring to answer those questions for the 100th time. If bio info is interesting to you, then at least find a novel way to ask about it. In order to avoid ping-pong conversational dynamics, i.e. when you ask a question that you expect to be asked back, you could start the conversation by saying where you come from before you ask the other person.
- Bring-up positive trending topics
You can easily see what people find interesting by what is trending on Google, Twitter etc. Trending topics are good for small talk, given how it is very likely the other person knows about it. Of course, you want to stick to positively charged topics, so do not bring-up ISIL etc. Chances are, you don not even need to check Google to find out what is trending, unless you for some reason have very idiosyncratic interests yourself.
- Talk about the context
This is very easy, though one should try not to choose generic contextual data like the weather. So, use your senses (hearing, sight and smell) and find something to talk about. When choosing topic, try to be creative and mention something that sticks out.
- Be engaged in what the other party says
Make sure to make supportive body movements and sounds when the other person is talking. This comes natural for most people, but it does not hurt to be conscious of how the other person perceives you. Indeed, slight exaggeration of these supportive behaviors is very positive, since it can really help break the ice.
While this is a more complicated technique, it is very intriguing when used moderately. Meta-talk is pretty much talk about talk. If you introduce yourself by saying something like “I am no professional at small-talk, but hi, my name is…”, then you are using meta-talk, since your statement refers to the situation from a Birdseye view. You want to do this in moderation, since it can become very heavy.
So, keep these 5 things in mind next time small talk is on the menu.
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