Starting a conversation or small talk with someone you do not know that well can be dreadful for some, especially to someone who has an introverted personality—the person who is quite reserved and drained by social interactions. Introverts are the opposite of extroverts, who are typically the life of the party and seek out interactions and conversations.
Conversation is important to individuals as it serves as a building block to create and maintain a relationship. It also serves as a gateway to learn by exchanging thoughts and ideas. When talking to someone for the first time, you probably think that you do not have a lot of topics to talk about or what your conversation patterns are going to be. You might want to talk about the latest household products that you are currently using, but the person you are talking to, who you just met, might think that you are selling those products.
Engaging in a conversation can cause one’s anxiety, but it is something that you need to deal with for social politeness and it is also necessary for our lives.
What is small talk?
Small talk is a light, informal exchange of thoughts but at the same time polite in manner about things that are not that important between two or more people usually in social occasions or events.
One factor why some people are too scared to start small talk is because they fear that society will reject them. This social anxiety disorder will lower a person’s vulnerability, and eventually, destroy their self-esteem.
Being a skilled conversationalist is innate to some people. They can carry and direct the conversation to any topic they want to go by just starting small talk. This skill will not only help you connect with a person that you just met, but this can also contribute to your career growth because you can express yourself to other people like your colleagues and boss. Here are some other benefits of being a skilled conversationalist:
- Gives you edge compared to your colleagues
- Eases the gaps between people who have nothing in common
- People will see you as a fun and reliable person
- You inspire other people to be like you
- You meet a lot of interesting people and increase the chances of career growth
Small talk is a way to break the ice and build a meaningful conversation. It helps warm up a person and the atmosphere to build a rapport with casual conversation.
How to Make Small Talk
Here are some tips and approaches to help you polish your conversational skills and make small talk to anyone in any situation.
1. Read interesting articles, watch substantial videos, or be updated on news.
The problem with starting small talk is coming up with an interesting topic. This is because you can share information and new knowledge that other people don’t have since most people don’t like reading. Reading articles as well as watching substantial videos and news can make you more interesting than an average person.
2. Ask open-ended questions.
This is a technique for an introverted person who does not want to disclose a lot of information about them. Some people love to talk about themselves and be the spotlight of the conversation. Open-ended questions help you know more about the person and help you come up with topics to talk about based on your common interests or what you know about their topic. It will also make the other person feel that you are eager to listen to what they have to say, making you appear that you are a skilled conversationalist.
3. Listen actively.
Actively listening means that you are paying attention by fully absorbing and concentrating on what the other person is saying. Maintaining eye contact and responding such as nodding or saying “yes” and reiterating what the person said also displays that you are an active listener. By doing this, you earn the trust of the speaker and build a strong relationship with them because it shows that you offer empathy and support.
4. Put away any distractions.
Given that personal technology is addicting in nature, you need to as much as possible put away any gadgets like your smartphone while having a conversation. Some people tend to pull out their phone and use it when they face an uncomfortable situation. There are also some people who get easily distracted with their social media, phone calls, and messages, which sabotages you from having a meaningful conversation.
5. Show that you are genuine and enthusiastic.
Nothing makes you look more interesting by showing that you are having fun making conversation with people. Be genuine and enthusiastic! Change your outlook by viewing that small talks lead to the opportunity of meeting new people and learning from them. You will never know what you will discover and who the person is.
How to end a conversation politely
Here are some exit lines you can use to end a conversation politely.
- It’s been great talking with you. Thank you for telling me about [XXX].
- I’ve really enjoyed talking with you. Let’s catch up at the next [XXX]. Maybe we can continue our conversation then.
- It was a pleasure talking to you. Thank you for sharing your ideas. Want to exchange contact info?
- Please excuse me— I am going to use the restroom. Enjoy the rest of the event.
- I’m going to go get a drink. Would you like me to bring you something?
- I see someone I know over there—I should probably go say hi. It was nice meeting you.
- The event is about to start, so I am going back to my seat. Do you want to exchange contact info?
How to rapidly improve at small talk
Skill Success has an online course that will help you build your confidence in initiating conversations with people so that you will be more comfortable in any social networking setting. This online course entitled “Small Talk Networking: How To Talk To Anyone” will help you meet new friends and approach a stranger with ease.
Ready to enhance your conversation skills? Click here to get started.