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4 Great Small Talk Questions that Get People Talking

Aug 18, 2007
If you are not a 'people person' or a good conversationalist, you may find it quite difficult to start the ball rolling and make small talk whenever you are in the company of a room full of strangers. If you do not get over your fears, your inability to make small talk will prove to be a disadvantage and will inhibit you from widening your social circle. Thus, you need to exert some effort into developing your 'small talk skills'.

One of the aspects of being a good conversationalist is knowing which type of small talk questions can break the ice and make others respond into engaging into some friendly conversation with you. Take a look at these small talk questions that you can use to get the conversation going the next time that you make small talk:

1. Work-Related Questions

"What do you do?" is a sure-fire conversation starter if you do not want to exhaust mundane topics like traffic or the weather. Someone's profession is personal enough to get them talking, but not too intrusive, especially if you are speaking with a total stranger that you have just met in a social function. Small talk questions which are work-related will keep the ball rolling.

While you are engaging in small talk, it also helps to really listen to the way that they answer the questions. By listening intently and looking the person in the eye while engaging in small talk, you can gather clues about the aspect of their work that they are most passionate about and take your cue from there.

2. Questions about their Interests

Finding something that you have in common is one of the keys for a good conversation to take off. When you are engaged in small talk, ask about their interests. You can ask about the latest movie that they've seen, the type of music that they listen to or a book that they may have read. This is where you can put to good use your knowledge about a wide range of topics. A lot of people feel comfortable with others who share a common interest.

3. Family-related Questions

People love to talk about their families. If, for example, you happen to have a glimpse of a family picture, casually ask the person about them and if they have a close-knit family. Do not, however, be overly intrusive since casual acquaintances may not feel comfortable if you delve a bit deeper into their personal life. Keeping your tone and your questions casual is the key to making small talk by using family-related questions to keep the exchange of words flowing.

4. Questions about General Topics

Current events, movies, music, fashion, food - these are just some of the general questions that you can present when making small talk. If you have the opportunity of making small talk but you cannot think of anything 'witty' to say, ask questions about general topics which are usually your safest bet. Asking people about their view on current events or world events will express your interest and knowledge about what is happening around you.

Just as it is important to know which questions to ask when making small talk, it is also vital to know how to respond to the subject brought up by the person that you are chatting with. These small talk questions should give you enough of an edge to survive any type of social scene where you need to engage in mundane conversation with other people. By learning how to engage in small talk, you will have additional opportunities to go out and widen your social, and even your professional circle.
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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