The Power of Small Talk

Do you have trouble with small talk?

When meeting somebody new it can be awkward at first, as you are both taking the others measure.  I hear people state that they don’t like small talk and want to get right to the meat of the conversation.  They say that because they are just not good at making small talk.  But it is an important part of the meeting process.

Talk Small Before Talking Big

Why is there a need for small talk?  Why the initial awkward getting to know each other period?

This requirement stems from our deep seated desire to be accepted and to accept others like us.  Studies show that we like people who like are like us.  We feel more comfortable with people who dress, talk, and look or act like us.  By making small talk what we are really doing is gauging whether there is any common ground to build a relationship upon, be it short term or long term.

And there is always common ground to build from.

First impressions are made not by what is said, but by the non-verbal communication taking place.  Your tone, your body language.  Small talk is just the guise under which that assessment takes place.  You can’t just stand there and stare at each other!

At this stage what you say isn’t so important (as long as you are not being weird…).  But how you say it is.  With that in mind you can see that making small talk really isn’t that big of a deal.

Getting Started

I really enjoy meeting and speaking with new people.  Its nice to make a new connection, especially these days when everyone is so dialed into their phones.  It is a good opportunity to get people out of their heads and back into the real world.

I’ve never had a problem striking up conversations with strangers.  So much so in fact that my mother-in-law once told me to “Go do that thing where you just talk to people”.  So how do I do it?  Simple, I just use the magic word.

Hi!

Because it doesn’t matter what you say, as long as you say something.  Why not break the ice with the shortest, simplest greeting there is?  From there the conversation will take its course.

Be the Host

Think back to the last time you threw a party, or hosted an event.  Chances are there was someone there that you didn’t know.  What did you do?  Did you let them sit by themselves in a corner, or did you introduce yourself and take charge of making them feel welcome.

It is the same in any situation.  Becoming the host in every situation, whether you are responsible for the event or not, and you’ll find the nervousness disappears. Go over, say hi, and make some small talk.

And when you run out of things to say?  Be a good host and introduce your new friend to somebody else!  This is a great way to meet even more new people, as well as a gracious way to extract yourself from the situation.

Do you struggle with small talk or with breaking the ice?  How do you overcome it?

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