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Conversations, Small Talk and the Secret to Making Friends

Aug 17, 2007
Small talk is often dreaded many people. It is seen as the awkward part of all conversations. Small talk comes before a drawn out conversation or is just a small conversation in itself.

Small talk doesn't require witty stories or much detail, actually. Most people see small talk as something you doing a friendly hello or to take up time before interesting conversations comes along.

In reality small talk can be interesting, it does not have to be just to pass the time and it definitely does not have to be uncomfortable.

The following tips outline some great pointers for how to make small talk less of a chore and more fun. You will find information on what to say, how to ease your nerves and above all, how to keep small talk from getting out of control.

1. Set a comfortable tone.

You do not want to give off the feeling that you are uncomfortable with the conversations you have. You should take control of the conversation, initiate topics and keep things going.

If you sense the other person is uncomfortable then you should try changing the topic or letting them take over the conversation. The whole idea is that small talk should not feel odd or awkward.

2. Start out conversations by talking about something obvious.

If you happen to run into an old friend in the store and she has a new baby, then comment on the baby. If you are meeting someone for the first time and trying to strike up a conversation then look for something about them to talk about.

For example, if they are wearing a shirt with a cute saying or picture, comment on that. Most people find it easy to talk about themselves, so that is why this is a great place to start.

3. Ask questions to keep conversations flowing.

Try not to ask the same type of question over and over. For example, do not keep asking why questions. Mix it up a little and use them all: who, what, when, where, why and how. Keep your conversation questions interesting too.

Try to avoid the mundane questions like, 'Where are you living now?' or 'What have you been up too?'. These worn out questions can make a person believe you would rather not be having a conversation with them, but you are because it would be rude to just walk away.

4. Use a good topic to base your conversations around.

The main things people talk about during small talk are: family, occupation, hobbies, and anything they are passionate about.

Starting out asking about a question regarding one of these topics will get the other person talking. You can ask questions and get great feedback. Starting out with something they know about will ensure you get them talking.

5. Remember to keep conversations short.

Nothing is worse than a small talk session dragging out into a full blown hour long conversation. Most people have something else on their agenda when they begin in small talk, so keep that in mind.

If you are really interested in what they are saying and wish you could talk longer then get their email address or phone number and continue the conversation later.

Following these pointers will help you be able to carry on effective and interesting small talk conversations. You can avoid those strange periods of silence where you never quite know what to say.

You will also be able to make the other person feel good about your conversation. Small talk can be a good time. You just have to know the right way to do it.
About the Author
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available only at: good conversations
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