Small talk is something that we all have to do from time to time. In most cases, we are comfortable enough that we can manage but for those that struggle, there are some ways that you can improve on your small talk skills. These simple tips will help you get your small talk going and will have anyone you engage with thinking that you are a pro. Here are 8 tips to help you brush up your small talk skills.
Practice Makes Perfect
As silly as you might feel, taking the time to practice your small talk is one great way to make sure you are fluid and comfortable with what you are doing. Talk to your kids, your friends, your parents, or even your pets to help work on things like moving from one topic to another, figuring out what to say, and simply being able to talk without worrying and without feeling silly. Though you might feel silly small talking to begin with, taking the time to practice is one of the best ways to really get used to small talk and to improve your skills so that you can keep any conversation going.
Create a Script
One of the best ways to get comfortable with small talk is to come up with a script to help you keep things flowing. Creating a basic script that can be updated or changed as needed is one way that you can really start to feel great about your small talk skills. Things like asking about the weather, asking about the job, or even commenting on current events is a great way to engage someone without having to worry about coming up with anything unique just yet. A basic script that can be changed to fit the conversation that you are in is just one great way to really make the most of the conversation that you have.
Make it Personal
a great way to engage anyone in small talk is to get them talking about themselves. Ask if they have pets, what hobbies they may have, what they like to eat, and other personal things that are going to help keep them talking and that is also going to help them to feel more comfortable with you. Letting someone talk about themselves is one of the best ways to keep the conversation moving and to make sure that there is never a dull moment.
Choose Your Topics
Another great way to engage in small talk is to stick to some of the most basic topics that there are. Things like pets, the weather, what someone does for a living or even something as silly as entertainment news that you heard on your way to work is a great way to engage someone and to keep the conversation light enough that you do not end up making someone uncomfortable and that you are able to really keep the conversation hot. This is also a great way to avoid things like hot button politics that might ruffle feathers or very serious news that might make the conversation stall.
Open with a Joke
Jokes are a great way to lighten the mood and even if they are corny and terrible, they are sure to get a laugh. Using silly little jokes that are easy to listen to and easy to tell are all great ways to open the conversation and even to revive it if things start to get a bit boring. If you feel that there is a lull in the conversation, try telling a silly joke to keep things going and to help revive the conversation so that you can keep the small talk flowing.
Small talk is just that, small. In the grander scheme of things small talk is not something that is going to stick with someone forever. That being said, try not to worry if you fumble or stumble when engaging in small talk. You should have fun making conversation and worrying too much is not good for you or for the people that you are talking with. Make sure you have fun and that you try not to worry too much about what you are talking about and that you simply keep things fun and light. Small talk has a way of helping people make friends and worrying too much is going to make it a much larger stress than it needs to be.
Facial Expression is Important
When engaging in small talk your facial expression is just as important as what you are saying. If you are frowning, look angry, look annoyed, or look like you are not interested, odds are the person you are talking to is just going to give up and talk with someone else. Make sure you keep a smile on your face, that you are fully engaged in the conversation, and that you have fun. Don’t worry too much and certainly make sure that if you feel that your expression is getting too dour or angry that you adjust accordingly so that both you and the people you are talking with have a good time and that you make a great impression on them.
Remember Your Body Language
as with your facial expression, your body language is also going to make a big difference in how you are perceived and in how your conversation is going. Make sure you take the time to lean into the conversation, to seem interested, and to take the time to turn your body toward the person that you are talking to. Closed features and crossed arms show that you are not interested in the conversation. Take the time to really relax and have fun and to let your body language tell those that you are with that you are having a great time as well. Your body language makes a huge difference even if you do not realize it and taking the time to be open and engaging is the best way to make sure that you are going to keep the conversation going and that you are not going to put off the feeling that you are not happy with the conversation.
Small talk is a great gateway into making new friends, killing time, building relationships, or even for making introductions. You never know when a meaningful relationship may come from what seems like the most banal and silly conversation. Have fun with your small talk and more importantly do not let it worry you if things do not go perfectly the first time. Taking the time to really relax and have fun is the best way to make the most of your small talk and to improve as you go.