Make small talk work for you
Some people become tongue-tied even at the idea of having to make polite conversation at social events or business functions. But small talk is no big deal. By definition, it’s just informal or uncontroversial chatter.
“Keep in mind that you don’t have to divulge your entire life to a person because this is just a small conversation,” stresses Stephanie Horvath, MS, an online instructor in the communication program for University of Phoenix. Here, Horvath offers five ways to make small talk easier:
Face the fear.
Don’t worry about saying something wrong or embarrassing, Horvath says. “Think about all the good things and experiences you will get out of engaging in small talk,” such as making a new friend or connecting with someone who can help your career. Keep those kinds of positive thoughts in mind when you approach someone.
Look for familiar faces.
When you enter a room, search for someone you saw or met at a previous meeting or gathering. Then start a conversation with, “Hey, I remember meeting [or seeing] you at such and such a conference,” Horvath suggests.
Seek an inviting group.
Find people who seem to be having fun or are engaged in an animated conversation, because naturally talkative people usually enjoy an audience, Horvath notes. So, she adds, it will be easier to walk up to them and start talking.
Connect through the event.
You definitely have one thing in common with every stranger in the room, and that’s the meeting or party you’re all attending.
Converse using body language, too.
Make it clear to the other person or people to whom you’re talking that you’re listening intently, Horvath emphasizes.