Grow by Small Talk


Small talk is an informal type of conversation in a social or a formal situation.Casual conversations provide opportunities to strengthen relationships and build good rapport between people. Such conversations come naturally and easily to some of us while it’s a dreadful experience for others.

People belonging to the latter group may be feeling, “ Why is small talk so important? Isn’t it enough to make great presentations and to the point conversations? The fact is that small talk is a valuable link that connects people personally and professionally. To reap huge benefits out of your killer presentations and to the point conversations you must master the skills of small talk.

What are the benefits of mastering small talk?

When you confidently walk into a room full of people dawning a smile, knowing exactly whom to approach, what to say and how to engage people, it gives your image a big boost. After all impressions go a long way in ones career and life!

You become more effective as a manager when you know how to set the tone for a difficult conversation by using casual talks in the beginning and towards the end of a difficult dialogue. This forges the relationship and at the same time makes the desired conversation more meaningful.

You become great at putting people at ease and thereby gaining their confidence. People are usually very insecure and fear rejection from others. Once you have won their confidence winning a business deal becomes much easier for you.

You get a lot of important information through small talk, which helps you to gauge the situation and act accordingly.

People like to do business with the people they like. A good conversationalist often brings out a positive feeling that people love to have. And if you know how to create that positive vibe, people will love to be in business with you.

Improving your conversation skills can reduce your anxiety in any social events; it can lead you towards opportunities of growth and success.

Chatting up with new people can inspire new thoughts and ideas as you tend to think in a new way when you are talking to someone you are less comfortable with!!

How to go about it?

Expert conversationalist Debra Fine wonderfully explains that we become better conversationalists when we employ two primary objectives. One- Take the risk of starting a conversation and Two- It is upto us to assume the burden of conversation.’

We should not expect people to approach us and make us feel at ease. Whenever an opportunity arises grab it and make the first move to get to connect to people. You may feel uncomfortable initially but remind yourself that you are not going to lose anything. So why not try?

Secondly, it is upto us to kill the awkward silences that surface during conversations. It’s our responsibility to be prepared, to bring up topics for conversation, to remember names and to introduce people to others. If others feel comfortable with us, they will feel great about doing business with us.

Below are some important tips to get you started:

1. Be a good listener- listen carefully and make the person you are speaking to feel like the only person around. Stay genuinely interested.

2. Break the ice- learn conversation icebreakers that suit your style. Once you learn them, use them at every given opportunity.

3. Make good eye contact and smile- good eye contact and genuine smiles adds a personal touch in conversations.

4. Remember names-make it a point to remember the names of people and to use it during conversations. In case you forgot a person’s name, rather than avoiding the person be honest and ask the name again.

5. Do not wait to get introduced-grab every opportunity to introduce yourself.


6. Find common ground- the knowledge that we share something in common with others automatically connects us with them. We are humans and we do have things in common. The trick lies in identifying the common ground.

7. Reciprocate-When your communication partner responds, reciprocate.It’s important to keep building the on going conversation.

8. Be well read – in order to have common conversation topics and to keep building the conversation be up to date on the general news.

9. Contact Information- if you had a good conversation with a person professionally; open the opportunity for the next connection by exchanging contact information. Remember to follow up using an email or a phone call.

10. Avoid getting too personal- in casual conversations be careful about not intruding into other people’s personal space.

11. Discuss the surrounding- when you are totally confused about what to say you can always discuss about the arrangement of the place or the music that is being played. That is something you share at the moment with the person you are talking to.

12. Avoid using controversial topics-remember that we are not entering a debate rather we are trying to make a connection. It is best when you stick with topics that are generally acceptable.

There are people who try to be too interrogative and can devastate a good conversation. There are certain others who will keep talking about themselves. They try to dominate always without listening to others. Then there are people who are ready with advices for all situations in life. In such cases try to bring back the conversation to a common ground and if that doesn’t work gracefully exit the conversation and move away.

It may seem too difficult in the beginning but with time and practice this skill can be mastered with great ease and style.Using seemingly futilechitchat, we can test the waters, network with people, make new relationships, generate new ideas, and problem-solve.

In this age where we are constantly stuck with our smartphones, small talking for a change forces us to unplug and listen to and speak with a real person. It may seem complex in the beginning—but by following a few simple steps, you’ll soon be finding yourself gaining huge benefits in your life!

Contributed by Sanjit Das ( Class of 2005, IBS HYDERABAD )

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