After being in the corporate world for a year, it’s not surprising when I say I’ve met many different kinds of people. I’ve met shy people, lazy people, domineering people, out-of-the ordinary people, intelligent-as-can-be people, and so on. No matter what type of “person” you are (D Personality; Gold, Blue, Personality), I’ve noticed almost everyone seems to screech to a halt when it comes to one thing: small talk.
I have had the pleasure of meeting some truly outgoing people, yet I’ve still noticed that small talk tends to be an issue. Heck, sometimes I even have trouble talking to people I don’t really know. Especially when you get that “awkward vibe”. I hate that.
While small talk may seem trivial, it’d be pretty embarrassing to ride the elevator with your CEO in the morning in complete and utter silence… not that that’s ever happened. Luckily, I always have something to say. Thanks to these tips, you can too.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Start a conversation with confidence. Walk up to the other person, smile, and confidently introduce yourself. You might try saying something like, “John Smith? Jane Doe. Good to see you again.”
- Make eye contact. It can seem disturbing while speaking to someone who’s looking around the room for someone more important to speak to.
- Think of possible topics of conversation before going to a function. Try to focus on generic, inoffensive topics, such as the weather, the food being served, etc.
- Encourage the other person to talk by asking leading questions. Remember, people love to talk about themselves. (This one is unbelievably spot on.)
- Keep the conversation short, unless the other person wants to continue talking.
- Take business cards that others offer you. Read the cards carefully, and then put them away in your wallet, handbag or pocket. This will show that you value the card, and by extension the person who gave it.
- Listen and watch before joining a conversation. You don’t want to ruin the dynamics with an inappropriate comment.
- Be sure you have something interesting to contribute to the conversation. Keeping up with current events and popular culture will help give you something to talk about.
- Change the subject if it seems like your conversation partner is ill at ease with something that’s been said.