If you are not much of a talker, you may find that making small talk takes a lot of effort so why would you even bother? The downside to this thinking is that you are limiting yourself to interacting with the people who you already know instead of having the opportunity to broaden your social, professional and personal relationships. It does not matter whether you are a good conversationalist or not. You just need to be polite, nice and knowledgeable enough, try to go out of your way to make small talk and try to feel the other person comfortable while you two are chatting. Here are some easy-to-follow tips on how to make small talk so that you can strike up a casual conversation with someone:
1. Get out of your comfort zone.
If you are the loner type and you’d rather be caught dead than making small talk with a total stranger, you need to bend a little and go out of your way to strike up a casual conversation with someone. Start with a neighbor, a co-worker, a tourist, an elderly – by conversing with the people that you get to see and meet everyday, you would get a feel of how it is to casually chat with someone and develop your conversational skills in the process.
2. Start with something simple.
A friendly “Hello” would go a long way if you want to make small talk. You can follow up this casual greeting by asking the other person about how their day has been so far. A simple and casual comment – even about something obvious is a signal to the other person that you are willing to make small talk and you would like to strike up a casual conversation with them.
3. Listening to what the other person has to say is also part of small talk.
Making small talk is also a two-way street, and you should not be the only one to do all the talking. After making a casual comment about something, try to get the other person to join in the conversation by asking questions. An exchange of words should things going. Listening is also an important part of making small talk. By intently listening, you will give the other person enough confidence to open up to you and give out the impression that you are really interested with what they have to say.
4. Be prepared to introduce general topics as a way to start the conversation.
Neutral topics which are general and not too personal or intrusive include the weather, traffic, current events, work, family, movies, television, funny anecdotes and a lot more. Finding out that you have something in common with another person is another goal of making small talk, and you may just even be surprised at what you can find out about each other. The key to making small talk is to keep the topics varied, casual and interesting. When the tables are turned and the other person is the one who introduces a topic, make an effort to respond by making a comment, giving out your opinion or sharing what you know about the subject.
5. Do not attempt to make small talk and turn it into a long, drawn out conversation that could turn out to be awkward so make your exit gracefully.
One mistake that a lot of people make is trying to extend small talk into an entire conversation. Things tend to take an awkward turn when you actually run out of things to say. That is why you need to be able to recognize when you can gracefully make your exit, say your goodbyes and tell the other person how nice it is to have a chat with them.
With these tips on how to make small talk, you can be prepared and breeze your way through the next time that you find yourself in a social setting where introducing casual conversation is the polite thing to do.