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Making Small Talk Fun in 4 Simple Steps

Aug 18, 2007
Small talk has a way of connecting people in some level, and it actually serves as the starting point of a personal or a professional relationship. Do not worry if you find the thought of making small talk daunting, because a lot of people share the same fear.

Some cannot bear the thought of rejection so they would not like to make the first move in starting a casual conversation, while others are intimidated by the thought that they may not know what to talk about! Just like striking up a conversation with a person that you like when you are in the dating scene, there are also some 'rules' that you can follow in making small talk. Here's how:

1. Make a comment on something obvious.

If you are standing in line in a store and it is not moving, casually say to the person next to you "I wonder what is taking so long?" Of course, this statement needs to come out pleasantly, in such a way that you will appear to be whining or complaining. The weather, traffic or your location are also some of the things that you can comment on. Since you will only be engaging in small talk, you do not need to come up with a witty or in-depth comment about a particular subject - something simpler or even stating the obvious would be a safer bet.

2. Try to muster all the self-confidence that you have and use it to make other people feel comfortable.

When you walk into a room full of strangers, do you just keep to yourself or do you try and mingle? Self-confidence plays an important part in making small talk. Also, the thought of getting another person to actually respond to your comments will also take a certain amount of self-confidence on your part.

The key to breaking the ice and engaging in small talk is to make the other person feel as comfortable as possible. Asking questions, listening intently to what they have to say and trying to find common points of interest are some of the things that you need to do when engaging in casual conversation.

3. Use humor or your knowledge of a wide array of topics when making small talk.

The fear of not knowing what to talk about is one of the things which prevents some people from making small talk. This is the reason why you have to broaden your knowledge of a wide array of topics so that you will have something to contribute to any conversation.

Humor is also a great icebreaker, you can start by sharing a self-deprecating comment when you introduce yourself to get a laugh out of the person that you are chatting with. Or, share a brief anecdote about what happened on your way over. Discussing general subjects like work, sports and hobbies are also good conversation starters.

4. Do not dominate or hog the conversation.

You might have read somewhere that there are basically two kinds of people. One who, when walking into the room, would say "I am here," while another one would say "There you are!." The difference between the two shows that the person who says "I am here" is focused on himself, while the second one focuses more on other people. The same principle can apply when making small talk. Do not let it be all about you. Small talk, no matter how casual, should involve the other person as well so do not hog the conversation. Try to listen and ask about the other person's opinion.

When making small talk, just keep these things in mind and know when to make a graceful exit - and in no time at all, you can turn small talk and casual conversation into an art form that you have already mastered.
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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