The value of chit chat, casual conversations with people surrounding us is sometimes belittled by some people, especially in this era of social media, and heads always over handphones.
People tend to avoid small talk, claiming it is meaningless, sometimes tresspasing others’ privacy.
Why is small talk important?
If we look at successful people surrounding us, we may notice that they are smooth conversationalists, friendly, able to talk to anyone, even almost seeming like everyone knows them!
This is one of the benefits of small talk, often disregarded or unrealized by those who don’t practice it.
Casual conversations can become the foundation of strong relationships.
In any era, people need others to grow more than individuals. There is but a limit for one person to learn on his own, experience things on his own, to flourish.
With a network, we can get tips, aids, support, recommendations, or suggestions from others who live lives differently than ours. Their family may be different, their job different, their culture different – having a wide network of companions can give us a richer life, borrowing from their experiences.
How to ace small talk
It seems social, smooth conversationalists, are born with it. They seem to be able to talk to anyone, remember names, remember people’s specialties, and seem to get help and recommendation easily from everyone around them.
While some are, yes, born in a family with such friendly, sociable culture, it takes practice, confidence and initiative, to do it expertly.
To talk with people fluidly, you need confidence. Be yourself. Find out your strengths, what you’re good at, find out what you enjoy, or what you’re up to right now, and talk about it. Stop looking at your weaknesses and start converting them into strengths.
Learn to be more observant. Talk about what you see in others, but avoid negative remarks. Cruel remarks invite negative people, which you don’t need in your life.
Try bonding with people genuinely. Avoid targeting certain people only to take advantage of them. When you are honest, you are more open and kind, and that gives you the confidence to ace small talk.
Here’s what a 20-years public relations professional advised in her book to ace small talk:
- Practice small talk with anyone you meet. Ask them advice about what they’re good at. Doesn’t matter if you really need the help at that moment. People would feel happy when they feel wanted.
- Think about subjects, issues you can talk about, like that new cake house in town that you’d like to know about.
- Mark someone you don’t know that you’d like to talk to, like that old lady that you always see watering the plants while you’re going to work.
- Get moving – take the initiative to attend social activities, and when you’re there, set a target of how many new guys you’d want to talk to.
By the time you’ve become an expert in casual conversation, you would have a bigger army of friends whom you could ask for help when in need, and more self confidence to speak out.
This will definitely bring yourself to a higher level.