Saving Small Talk

Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with being a little bit boring, boring is dependable, boring is comfortable but no one ever changed the world by being boring. You need to smarten up your small talk and smash those networking meetings with great conversation. Give your banter a do-over with some tricks and tips and be the life and soul of the room. Now’s the time to make a few little adjustments and get the conversation flowing.

Maintain mystery

If you’re on social media (and who isn’t), then basically your life is an open book. We know what our friends are wearing, which gym they go to and even what they’re eating. Maintaining even the smallest hint of mystery is next to impossible if you share your every waking moment and thought with the world.

So limit your posts and save those most interesting parts of your life for conversations in real life, with real human beings.

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Quality questions

One of the very best ways of creating scintillating conversation is learning the art of asking questions. You’ve probably already noticed but people love to talk about themselves, so if you’re meeting someone for the first time or you don’t know them so well, put your journalist hat on. We’re not just talking the simple yes and no response questions but rather asking questions about what people really want to talk about.

Listen to what’s being said, really listen and you’ll soon pick up their passions, use this knowledge to extend the conversation further with some well thought questions and you’ll be someone everyone wants to talk to.

Look after yourself

Honestly, none of us likes hearing about aches and pains and illness in other people, so avoid this topic like the plague. When we ask: “how are you?” we rarely want an honest response. So if you are carrying an injury or need some physiotherapy for back pain get that done and dusted. It will make you feel better and avoid an unwanted conversation.

If you’re in good shape, you’ll feel better both mentally and physically. As your confidence grows so will your ability to meet and talk to a variety people with no fear of sounding mundane.

Don’t be scared

Making changes in your life can be scary, even small ones but you don’t have to let that hold you back. Recognise that you have these feelings and sit with them. Explore, in your mind, the benefits of stepping out of the shadows and believe in what you are doing.

If you’re worried about not having enough to talk about then keep up with the latest current affairs and conversations in the blogosphere. At the very least you’ll be able to ask questions about what your conversational partner thinks about the latest crazy political twists and turns.

Learn the art of being funny

If you’re naturally shy or don’t feel you have anything to offer in the way of humour, we bet you’re wrong. Even if your comic timing is way off you can probably recall a story or two about yourself that ended in disaster or a near miss.

Practice your best stories, don’t keep putting yourself down but a couple of self-deprecating stories will always make people laugh.

Practise positivity

If there’s one thing that turns people off listening, it’s being in the company of someone who does nothing but complain. We’ve all had that neighbor or co-worker who spends their day going into great detail about the terrible injustices they’ve had done to them, their family, their cat and so on and how life is truly unfair.

The truth is, it’s boring and you’ll do anything to avoid them. Sometimes, particularly if you do have something you’re annoyed about on your mind, it can be hard to shake it off in conversation but the art of small talk means you’re going to have to.

If you can think differently about your situation and take some positivity out of it, chances are you will find it reduces in your mind. Keep practising this mindfulness technique by looking at issues objectively and removing your emotional response and you’ll be able to put it to the back of your mind far more easily in conversation.

Making small talk is a skill, it’s an art and for many of us it doesn’t come easily. When you find someone really bad at it, you really know about it but meet a funny, well-informed, positive person and it just flows. Be that person and let your small talk be the talk of the town.


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