Learning how to make small talk is one of those essential social skills that every gentleman should have.
Whether you’re in a social or professional setting, small talk plays an important role - helping to create relationships, share interests, and find interesting people. With all of these benefits on offer, mastering the art of small talk is a no-brainer.
Want to learn how to make small talk properly? In this post, we’ve covered everything you need to know about making small talk with friends, co-workers, and anyone in between. Check it out!
Why Is Small Talk Important?
At this point, you might be wondering - why is small talk important, anyway?
As uncomfortable or frightening as small talk might seem, it’s an essential social skill that’s worth mastering. After all, we use small talk to form bonds, network, and define relationships. It allows people to communicate on a casual level, without becoming too personal or complex.
For all these reasons and more, small talk is a crucial aspect of our lives in one form or another - and because it won’t be going away anytime soon, it’s a social skill that’s well worth learning.
How To Make Small Talk
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty. Learn how to make small talk with our basic 6-step guide below.
- Focus On Them
One of the best ways to get through small talk is to focus on the other person - especially if you’re feeling uneasy. Ask basic questions, discuss their interests, and let your curiosity run wild.
This will keep you out of the spotlight, allow the conversation to flow, and will put the focus on them.
Once you find a topic you feel confident about or have a pure interest in, feel free to contribute to the conversation.
- Add To The Conversation
As easy as it might be to just ask questions and put the focus on them, you're going to have to contribute at some point.
After all, a conversation is a two-way street - you don’t want it to feel like an interrogation. Add a few relevant anecdotes or tidbits from time to time, and don’t be afraid to offer your perspective.
With that said, this also means that you shouldn’t be talking their ear off all about yourself - this can be perceived as arrogant. Just remember, this exchange is a give and take.
- Active Listening
Sometimes, it’s not enough to just listen to someone - you might also need to actively show that you’re listening. This could be with a simple smile, nodding your head, or asking follow-up questions.
It might sound basic, though these simple habits show that you’re interested in the conversation and what the other person has to share. Plus, it'll often make them feel validated, making them feel more comfortable with you.
- Avoid Your Phone
This one might sound a little obvious, but we’re going to go ahead and mention it anyway - avoid checking your phone when making small-talk!
After all, checking your messages or taking a phone call mid-conversation can tell the other person that you aren’t interested in what they have to say.
Before engaging in small talk, take a quick minute to turn your phone on silent so you won’t be distracted by any notifications. After all, the person you’re chatting with deserves your full attention.
- A Good Attitude
If you’re not going into a new conversation with a good attitude, what’s the point?
Let’s be honest - many of us aren’t too enthusiastic about small talk. Though if you don’t go in with a positive attitude, you won’t be able to get much from this experience - not to mention, you might make the other person feel uncomfortable.
Instead, try not to think of small talk as a social chore. Go into this conversation with an open mind and a genuine interest to connect.
- Pay Attention to Body Language
When it comes to small talk, your body language is just as important as the conversation itself. You can use inviting body language to make the other person feel comfortable with you and more willing to chat - whether it’s with a friendly smile or eye content.
Otherwise, you can read body language to know when the conversation is coming to a close. For example, if the person you’re chatting with seems distracted or seems wriggly, it might be time to shift to a new topic or finish up the conversation.
As your small talk continues to progress, always keep yours and their body language in the back of your mind.
With these 6 basic tips by your side, mastering the art of small talk couldn’t be easier.