THE ART OF SMALL TALK


When it comes to engaging in conversation with others, some people just seem to have the gift for small talk. They can chat up relatives, friends and strangers with the same ease.
But for some of us shyer folk, the thought of having to spark up a conversation with anyone but our BFF's can set your anxiety level on the highest alert.
Here's how to let go of your small talk fear and become the party-goer who never has an empty seat beside them.

Be on the ball with current events.
Make it your mission to be well versed in a variety of topics. Read magazines and newspapers, local and international. Watch news shows to stay current on events in your area, country and around the world. Keep up with the celebrity scoops and what's binge-worthy on the small screen. Know which theatrical shows are in town and are must-sees. Be familiar with what sports are currently in season, which teams are winning, who's losing and whose going all the way for the cup this year, especially when it concerns your hometown teams or alma maters.

Stay away from taboo topics.
Religion, sex and politics are potential conversation powder-kegs. Your goal is stimulating but pleasant conversation, not an inflammatory debate about the state of affairs of the Catholic Church, your distaste for the current government leaders or how you're all for three-ways and rubber toys.

Ask people for their opinions.
People love to be asked for their views on a subject so before you head to your event, think of a few questions you can ask at the start of a conversation about a couple of topics you are comfortably knowledgeable about.

 Remember to listen.
You've gotten the ball rolling, now it's time to stop worrying about what to say next, and start concentrating on what the other person is saying. People love to hear themselves talk and they will love it even more if they feel that they have an attentive audience who is making eye contact. Make sure you are genuinely engaged by throwing in the occasional brief comment or nod in understanding. The conversation will flow back and forth in an easy natural way, since you'll able to form varied responses to what the individual has just said. If at any time you get confused or lose your train of thought, ask a question about the topic you are discussing; listen some more and stay focused.

Don't be nosy.
There are some questions that should be avoided during small talk or conversation, regardless of how well you think you know the person you are speaking to.
Questions you should be avoiding:
How much do you make?
Have you gotten work done on your face?
How can you afford that house, trip, car, etc.?
Who did you vote for?
OMG, how did you get that scar?
How much did you pay for your house, your designer bag, your car, etc.
You two have been living together/engaged forever, when are you two finally tying the knot?
You look a little tired, are you feeling okay?
How old are you?
And the mother of all nosy questions that no one should touch with a ten foot pole! 
When is your baby due?
(not everyone who looks pregnant is actually expecting if you catch my drift 😃)

Practice your small talk skills whenever you have the
 opportunity.
Unless you are an agoraphobe or a hermit, you come in contact with people every single day that you have to talk to so use it to your advantage. Uber drivers, the FedEx guy dropping off a package, your manicurist, even the grocery cashier; they can all be conversation practice partners as long as you don't overdo it and aren't bothering them while they do their jobs. The more you practice, the better. Everything gets easier with a little practice.

2 comments:

  1. I used to be able to find good advice from your
    articles.

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  2. Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just
    wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading through your
    articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with
    the same topics? Thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete