Knowing how to make small talk can help fortify business and work relationships. Small talk skills are part of your overall business etiquette. You never know when you may need to make small talk conversation with your boss, business partner, coworker, or even at a job interview.
These conversations can happen in the break room, business meetings, over lunch, golf or even parties. Follow these basic tips and soon you will be having effortless small talk.
To start off use common sense. Make sure not to make small talk when the other person has their hands full with another task.
Relax and show that you are comfortable and confident even if that is not the case. Hide your shyness during conversation by maintaining eye contact, but not for long moments at a time. About 70%-80% of the time is ideal. You don’t want to make them feel as if you are starring at them.
Always listen more than you talk. Forget just talking about yourself. It is much easier to obtain successful small talk when you are asking questions and showing interest in the other person’s opinions, and ideas. Make sure to pay attention. Showing interest and initiating questions are great ways to avoid awkward moments during small talk.
Remember previous conversations
It is easy to find topics when you have talked with the same person before. Just continue where you last left off on previous chats. Ask them things such as how did their trip to the Bahamas go, or the chances of their favorite sports team clinching a payoff spot.
Never correct someone
If the person you are having small talk with gives you information that you know is incorrect, or speaks with bad grammar, never correct them, even if you are the best essay writer and can not tolerate errors. Only give advice if they ask you for it. Most likely they just want to be heard. The whole purpose of making small talk is to make connections. Not to impose superiority.
Don’t curse or tell risqué jokes. When giving your opinion, put your emotions in check and censor yourself to make sure nothing comes out in a derogatory way. It will not matter if you know how to make small talk if you offend someone.
Stay informed of current events and the present trends of pop culture. Know about sports, music, television, art etc. The more you know the more topics you can chat about. In other words; don’t live inside a little box.
Topics to avoid
Topics such as religion and politics are touchy subjects that can offend someone. In business it really makes no difference what religion you follow, or what political party you support.