The Fine Art of Small Talk

20609 2019-08-18 13:50
  • After public speaking, the biggest social fear in the Western world is initiating a conversation with strangers. To conquer the fear of rejection, it helps to realize that in most cases, people appreciate it when you make an effort to speak with them.
  • In some cases, not talking can make you come off as arrogant or aloof. Initiating a conversation can be simple: first, smiling at someone; second, establishing eye contact; third, being the first to introduce yourself.
  • To approach a group of people: 1, demonstrate your interest to the group from a distance, paying attention to the speaker. 2, the group will notice and make room to include you. 3, let the group warm to you before you offer any strong opinions.
  • Guiding a conversation evokes the positive feelings that make people want to work or socialize with them. One easy way of assuming this responsibility is to act like you’re a host and ask, “What’s your name?”. Emphasize “your” to make them feel valued.
  • The best way to improve your conversations is to ask open-ended questions, which demonstrates that you genuinely care about what they have to say.
  • A conversation will inevitably dip into an awkward silence sometimes. You can get it back to a comfortable flow by asking open-ended questions with the current contexts or the acronym FORM: family, occupation, recreation and miscellaneous.
  • To be an active listener, body language is important: avoid crossing arms, hunching shoulders, or fiddling with clothes, hair or jewelry. Instead, lean forward, nod, smile and maintain eye contact.
  • To be an active listener, vertal cues are important: engage by asking follow-up questions about the details, respond enthusiastically to express your intrest, or paraphrasing what the speaker said to clarify.
  • To end a conversation gracefully, the first thing you can do is to circle back to the highlight of your discussion. If you genuinely want to continue the discussion later, exchange contact info, state what you will do next, (if acquaintance) shake hand, and say goodbye.
  • It’s important to follow through with whatever it is you say you’re doing next. Otherwise, the other side may think you simply were not enjoying your time with them, which hurts feelings.
  • It is a courteous way to end a conversation with introducing your conversation partner to a new person, which will whiden his network and ensure he does not feel that you’re abandoning him. Or reversely, you can ask them to introduce you to someone else.


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