Small talk is truly under-appreciated. Why? For a couple of reasons. First, we typically participate more in this type of dialogue than any other. Second, it can be considered practice or initiation to all other forms of public speaking. So, how’s your chit chat? Are you adept at navigating conversation? Here are a few tips that can be used as a refresher or even something new.
Tip One: MAKE THE FIRST MOVE
Most people tend to wait until someone approaches them before engaging in chit chat. But what if everyone in the room is waiting for the same thing? It’s best to go ahead and step out. Simple things such as the offer of a hand to shake or a ready smile tell your future conversation partner he/she has nothing to fear in interacting with you.
Tip Two: LEARN TO LISTEN
Most people are eager to tell another about themselves. That’s why listening is such an important skill to perpetuate. You can end up listening far more than talking, but with an interesting result. Most of the time, your conversation partner will walk away feeling appreciated and heard. That’s a rare commodity in today’s culture!
Tip Three: HAVE THREE GOOD QUESTIONS READY
The key to initiating a good conversation is in preparation. There are questions (always introduced after a generous greeting) that serve to kick our conversations off to a good start. Opinions work best. “What do you think of……?” The question can relate to business, sports, movies or any other topic that you deem appropriate for the situation. Think about what you’ll ask in advance.
Tip Four: WATCH YOUR RESPONSES
You won’t be the first person to think you’ve hit it off with someone - until you reach a difference of opinion on a topic. The secret to continuing the dialogue is not to press your point and insist they absorb your views. It’s just chit chat! Nobody is signing a legal document they have to live with for the rest of their lives.
Tip Five: KEEP PRACTICING
Some conversations go well, while others may seem a bit bumpy. The thing to understand is that there is a wide variety of personalities in the world and you’re learning something every time you engage, no matter how the conversations go.
Happy Chit Chatting!