It’s safe to assume that if you’re shy, introverted, or simply not used to strike up a conversation, making a small talk can be quite daunting. And you’re definitely not alone! We’re pretty sure unless you’re a social butterfly who constantly feels the need to enlarge your circle of friends; small talks are pretty much very boring and unnecessary.
But small talks are vital; you need it when you meet your future in-laws, when you meet your colleagues in the pantry, or when you meet up with your friends. Making small talks can give you a great first impression – as long as you say the right things and at the right time. Actually the science of making small talk isn’t as complicated as quantum physics or algebra. It’s rather simple, in fact. See how you can start making some small talks below.
1. Find similarities
You don’t have to make things up (“Oh, you like listening to artist A? Me too!” when in fact you have never heard of the artist) in order to find the common ground. Start with questions about, perhaps, mutual friends or something general? As they answer your question, the conversation can take off from there. Just remember: don’t ask things that are too personal; it can cause discomfort for the other party.
2. Show them those teeth!
No, not in a creepy way. But you do need to smile in order to put your talking partner at ease. When you smile sincerely, the other party can warm up sooner and conversation will flow better.
3. Give an ear
Be a good listener. Pay attention to what your partner is talking about. You can pick up interesting details to continue the conversation. People do know whether you’re listening carefully or not. Your gaze, your gestures; that’s what will give you away. So even if what they’re talking about doesn’t interest you, make sure you listen well until the end for the sake of courtesy.
4. Pick the right questions
Yes-or-no questions are not the right kind of questions you want to ask. They’re basically conversation killer, and you don’t want that. Choose questions that require the other person to explain or say something longer than a vowel.
5. Keep things light
Remember, you’re making small talks; not a debate, not a deep conversation. The person you’re talking to might know you less than an hour ago. Keep things optimistic, light, and positive. Don’t touch sensitive topics (race, religion, politics) and even if the conversation goes that way, try to gain the control back. Steer the conversation away from anything that can potentially cause problem.
6. Watch your body language
Communication isn’t all about what you say, it’s also about what you do. One thing you can do, is to loosen up! Be attentive, don’t slouch or the other way around, too tense. If you’re too stiff, it’s hard to see how the person you’re talking to can enjoy the conversation.
7. Know when to leave, and know how
Ending the conversation is as difficult as starting it. The other party may be far too enthusiastic, and you don’t want to be stuck listening to how their cats are doing. Use phrases like, “I need to excuse myself, I need to…..” and fill in the blank with something reasonable. To end things nicely, mention briefly that you enjoy (even if you don’t) talking to them, and make sure to include their personal name.
So that’s how you can start, navigate, and end small talks!
Keep being AllDayChic!