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How to Make Small Talk - 8 Secrets for Greater Success

Aug 18, 2007
You might be wondering if there are ways for you to learn how to make small talk. There are. It is important to learn how to make small talk because you never know when you might need to show that you know how - like when you have to attend a community function that requires striking up a pleasant conversation with a group of total strangers. You will definitely need to know how to make small talk then.

So what are these ways to learn how to make small talk? Here they are:

1. You must practice. Practice your small talk skills on people you encounter in your daily life such as the gasoline attendant who fills your car tank with
gasoline every week, or the bus driver who accepts your fare for the daily commute to the office. Practicing hones your small talk skills so that when you have to attend that important community function you will find small talk to be easier (if not second nature by then.)

2. Be a warehouse of information yourself. This entails reading a lot and watching many documentaries on tv. But information does not have to be encyclopedic or boring. Read and learn about things you are interested in but take time as well to learn about things you think other people would be interested in. Knowing a few good facts that other people can relate to is better for small talk purposes than having a head full of information that makes the eyes of other people glaze over.

3. Make it a point to join groups of people anywhere just to make small talk. Have you noticed that when many people are gathered together in one place, someone inevitably strikes up a conversation with another person there? Some people are quite shy though and leave it to other people to make the first move. That is okay, so long as you try to join in the conversation as well.

4. Keep a diary. This will serve as a repository of any information you feel is worth collecting. Anecdotes, important pieces of facts, names of people you need to remember - anything can go in that diary. The point is to read through the diary to bone up on these information that you feel are important to remember.

5. This step may sound silly but try talking to yourself in the mirror. This allows you to practice your small talk skills in private. You can then catch any bad habits that you have, like pursing your lips or licking your lips when you speak.

6. Be brave enough to try out new things. Try rollerblading, surfing, or visit a new shop that you may have heard about. Wear a different type of clothing or style your hair differently from what you are used to.

7. Learn to listen to what people around you are saying. Did your doctor just say he wants to go on vacation? Ask him when and where. Has your mother been telling you that she has back pains? Inquire whether they are getting worse. Did the cashier inform you that she is banking on being promoted soon? Congratulate her in advance. These are all opportunities to make small talk, because you cared enough to listen to what they were telling you.

8. Try to overcome any feelings of shyness or lack of self-confidence by participating in more opportunities to do small talk. There's no getting around it - you learn how to make small talk by doing small talk whenever and wherever you can.
Practice definitely makes perfect.

All these tips are aimed at making you better at small talk. So take every opportunity to make small talk - you will become better at it over time.
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: conversation starters
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