On a typical day of running errands, taking the bus to work, or having a virtual get-together with our coworkers, many people engage in some type of small talk.
Few people, however, know how to master small talk in a deeper and more transformative way.
What do you know about mastering small talk, and do you consider yourself a good conversationalist?
Right now, you can change the way that you talk to others.
Are you ready to get more out of everyday talk?
How To Master Small Talk in 4 Easy Steps
Mastering small talk does not need to feel like an impossibility in your life.
Instead, small talk should be thought of as a skill that you can cultivate with the right tips and tricks as well as enough practice.
Like any skill, you need to take specific steps as you practice and get better.
Small talk is going to take time to get great at, and that’s okay. Everyone has practiced some level of small talk; how are you going to start practicing?
Here are four easy steps that can get you started.
Step 1: What Are Good Small Talk Topics?
One of the things that people worry about the most when thinking about small talk is what they should talk about.
What are good small talk topics?
There are so many different topics that you could consider. Practically any topic that isn’t likely to be immediately controversial is a great option for small talk.
Here are some of the most popular topics for experienced conversationalists:
- Where you are at/the current venue
- Shows, plays, movies, music, other entertainment
- Food or cooking
- Their hobbies
- Their professional responsibilities
- Local interest topics
- Their local favorites
These are just some baseline ideas, which may then inspire some other potential topics in your mind.
The key is to find a topic that triggers a good connection with the person you are speaking to.
Don’t be afraid to keep moving from topic to topic until something clicks.
People will engage more enthusiastically with a topic that works with them, so keep moving until you find that topic.
Small talk will be much more enjoyable for everyone if you work to find a good topic.
Step 2: Focus on Emotions and Questions
Small talk is called small talk because it is a light conversation that isn’t focused on deep, heavy topics.
That, however, does not mean that the conversation has to be completely without emotion.
In fact, the most interesting and engaging small talk is going to be a conversation that really brings up things that people feel passionately for.
Passion is not relegated only to difficult or heavy topics; people feel passionate about many different things in their life.
Inspire Emotional Depth
One way to make this happen when conversing is to learn how to ask the right leading questions.
For example, someone might talk to you about how they know the best taco places in town.
Why is it that they know this? The chances are high that they have a deep love for tacos.
It’s time for you to ask a leading question such as, “What do you love about tacos?”
It’s a silly question, sure, but it’s one that the person will feel completely capable of and inspired to answer.
Emotional depth is possible about many different interests, likes, and hobbies.
Don’t hold back from asking somebody why they like a certain thing; you never know what you’ll find out.
Ask Extra Questions
To ensure you keep leading and moving the conversation, ask more questions than you are answering.
The magic of a conversation often happens when the person you are talking to really shares a lot, and you can inspire this through your questions.
You’ll learn a lot that way, and that will give you the ability to create the networking connections you want to inspire through small talk.
People who ask a lot of questions are often thought to be the best conversationalists, so this is a skill you want to focus on in your small talk practice.
Step 3: How Can I Improve My Small Talk?
Now that you know the basics and are beginning to practice with the right topics and lots of questions, what’s next?
You need to know what you should be paying extra attention to while taking.
Improving small talk will only happen if you are actively trying to work on certain things.
These are two things that people most often struggle with when learning how to be better at small talk.
Active listening is a very important skill, but it is one that many people don’t think about.
Essentially, you need to put effort into paying attention when someone else is speaking.
You want to remember the details that they are sharing and ask questions when you have them.
Tuning out while someone else is talking will turn the conversation stale, and the other person might notice.
Make sure you are an active participant in the conversation even when you are listening. This will do wonders to improve how successful you are at small talk.
Show Genuine Enthusiasm and Interest
Small talk can be stressful, so why not try to make it genuinely enjoyable? Treat every conversation as a chance to get to know someone new and exciting.
Engage with genuine interest at the opportunity to get to know someone new.
Embrace the discussion. After all, you never know what the other person might have to say or share.
By showing genuine interest, the other person is also more likely to act with genuine interest.
When both parties are genuinely engaged, a better conversation is sure to be unlocked.
How Can I Be Really Good at Talking To a Crowd but Not Individuals?
Some people wonder why they are good at giving presentations to a crowded meeting room, but they struggle with small talk.
Ultimately, the skill sets are different.
While you may have experience presenting to a group, that doesn’t mean you feel comfortable talking one-on-one.
The key is to learn about and practice small talk as much as you possibly can.
Step 4: Create a Talking Habit
The last thing you need to do to master small talk is to practice.
Having random interactions in your life is going to help you get better and more comfortable with the idea of small talk.
Of course, there will be times when people don’t want to engage in small talk. And that’s okay.
Continue to look for as many opportunities as possible to practice your new skillset.
In time, you’ll see that the way you interact with the world and the people in it is going to completely change.
These changes can open up your life in ways that you never realized. It can all be done through the simple task of becoming a better communicator.
It takes at least 14 days to form a habit, and even more when you cannot do something consistently.
That means you need to keep at it every single day until talking genuinely with those you meet feels like a natural and normal thing to do.
While this will be difficult at first, your future self is sure to thank you.
Mastering Small Talk With The Fine Art of Small Talk
One book that might help you truly understand how to go about mastering small talk is The Fine Art of Small Talk by Debra Fine.
This book focuses on actionable things you can do to create better conversations, join conversations around you, and leave conversations as you please.
Cultivating these skills is very important, and the author has a lot of experiences to share that can help you do just that.
From learning more about body language to taking on the burden of starting conversations, everything from the beginning to the end of a conversation is covered.
This book can act as a great guide to small talk for those who prefer to learn from the experiences of others rather than trying things out alone.
How Blinkist Can Help
There are many books that talk about the importance of conversation when it comes to social relationships, business, and self-awareness.
Do you have time to read all of those books? Probably not.
Thanks to Blinkist, however, you can learn from the most important ideas from books in 27 different categories.
Blinkist puts together easy-to-read summaries that typically take less than 20 minutes to read.
By the end of each Blink, you come away with a grasp of the main contents of the book and the ability to immediately apply the lessons to your life.
No matter how much time you have to spare, you can make use of those extra minutes on Blinkist.
Start Talking Small
Small talk is the basis for a lot of human connection and networking, even if we don’t always put that much importance into these basic conversations.
Now that you know how to master small talk, you can keep growing beyond this simple power.
Book summaries on Blinkist will help you expand your conversational skills into other areas that are important to you, such as business and relationships.
Having conversations is a simple pleasure, but it is also a part of life that is incredibly important.
How are you going to do more with the conversations you have today?