Jacob Osborn

10 Tips On How To Make Small Talk | Man of Many

From weddings to happy hours to pretty much anything in between, humans are always finding ways to socially interact with one another. As you’re aware, most of these social situations aren’t exactly ripe for intense debates, nor are they the place to share your innermost desires and struggles. There has to be a certain amount of shallow dialog that fills the void, allowing humans to connect on a superficial level. This is exactly where small talk comes in, and it exists between co-workers, close friends, romantic partners, and complete strangers alike.

What is Small Talk?

If you’re an introvert with a low tolerance for filler, we won’t press your patience any further. Here are 10 tips on how to make small talk.

How to Make Small Talk

You might think that most small talk is downright pointless, but here’s another take: you only find it pointless because it induces so much anxiety. In turn, you avoid the practice to avoid feelings of dread and nervousness. Hence, our first tip is to remember that your own reactions to small talk might be part of the problem.

1. Stay Relaxed

Here’s a piece of small talk advice that will take you far in life: if you don’t feel overly comfortable talking, focus on listening instead. As you might soon discover, there are plenty of other people who will happily pick up the baton and run their mouth for minutes on end.

2. Listen With Your Whole Body

Life is what you make it, as the saying goes, and so is small talk. If you walk into the room thinking every conversation you have will seem pointless, then guess what? Every conversation you have will seem pointless. On the other hand, if you think of every conversation as the potential springboard for something meaningful, then so it shall be.

3. Approach with Intent

We’ll keep this one brief: the more interested you are in what someone is saying, the more interesting you might seem to that same someone. Capice?

4. Be Curious

Again, when you’re learning how to make small talk, there’s no harm in letting someone else do most of the heavy lifting (if they’re an extrovert, they won’t mind). Bring out your inner inquisitor by asking questions like “Have you seen any good movies lately?” or “Got any favourite places to eat around here?” or even just “How are you doing?” They’ll have thoughts and opinions and so will you. Just remember: there is such a thing as being too inquisitive.

5. Be Inquisitive

Should you want to keep the conversation flowing, remember to fill in details. Don’t just tell someone where you ate last night, tell them what you ate and how it tasted. Did anything else happen over the course of the evening? Was the waiter funny? How was the ambiance? How did you hear about the place and why did you go there? This is the art of small talk.

6. Add Details to Your Responses

Open-ended questions can help turn small talk into deep talk. For example, when someone tells you they’re favourite movie, ask in return: “What did you like about it?” If someone tells you where they’re from, ask: “What was it like growing up there?” Without seeming too intrusive, these simple questions can subconsciously elicit meaningful information and interpersonal trust.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Go Deep

During any given conversation, people give off all sorts of verbal and non-verbal cues. If it looks like someone is losing interest in the subject at hand, then change the subject. On the flip side of that coin, when someone gets passionate, keep adding proverbial fuel to the fire.

8. Read the Cues

This small talk advice pretty much explains itself, but we’ll spell it out for you: if you’re checking your phone, then you’ve checked out of the conversation. You can figure out the rest.

9. Don’t Check Your Phone

Introverts are prone to introspection, during which mountains get made out of molehills. If the interaction goes south in some way, don’t punish yourself over it. Instead, determine where things went wrong and learn from the experience. If you were talking with an extrovert, then rest assured that they’ve moved on and so should you.

10. Don’t Punish Yourself

How do you start small talk?

Starting small talk can be as simple as asking someone how they’re doing or where they’re from. Next, move onto open-ended questions such as what it was like growing up in their hometown.

How do you start a conversation without small talk?

Small talk is a gateway to something more meaningful, and we don’t recommend skipping over it. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, start small.

How can I be good at talking?

Asking questions and listening to answers is a great place to start when learning how to master the art of conversation. When talking, remember to pepper in details and stay away from one or two-word responses.


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