Keep it short, talk about current events and remember: practice makes perfect.
So, you come here often?
Small talk might be something you love. Or, maybe you try to avoid it. For some reason, it’s something certain people seem to be skilled at it and others loathe.
Whether you like it or not however, a study from Indiana University says that if you practice your small talk skills, they will inevitably get better.
(Which is important, because some say small conversations help us avoid WWIII as “the cornerstone of civility”).
“Small talk is really, really important,” says psychology professor and shyness expert Bernardo J. Carducci, director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast.
“If you make connections with people, it makes it much more difficult for you to treat them in an uncivil way. If you think about being kind to and connecting with people…you’ll engage in more acts of kindness and fewer acts of rudeness,” he observes.
Carducci feels small talk is becoming more important as we spend increasing amounts of time in our own electronic bubbles.
“The people who are happiest and most influential have the strongest social network, social capital,” he says.
So, how can you up your game?
Start small, with a simple greeting, says Carducci. And aim for nice, not brilliant.
Follow local events, issues, current events and sports so that you have a few hot topics ready to go in your back pocket.
(Read the news!) Rehearse your intro if you’re shy, arrive early so you can network, and don’t forget to keep is short and let the other person speak.
Small though it may be, there’s a lot to say.
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