There is nothing small about small talk. Small talk is an important people skill. It’s an essential official expertise. It’s the initial step in associating with others and initiating enduring and important connections in business.
It is a simple approach to become acquainted with someone, leave a positive first impression, and increase self-assurance. Even to land a position in a company, working with customers, and engaging existing ones all require communication skills.
“Small talk isn’t just about being gregarious or entertaining, it is a gesture of respect.” – Brett Nelson.
“In trying to generate business, the deal pitch is obviously critical. What is not so obvious is that simple, seemingly innocuous conversation with potential clients can be just as important. Companies want to hire people who can think on their feet,” says Scott Hoover, Associate Professor of Finance at Washington & Lee University.
It’s not about you. Tune in to people around you. Remember little details about the people you interact with, for e.g. their stories. Asking open ended ‘W’ questions – what, where, when, why & how always helps. It’s best to avoid close ended questions that can be simply replied with a yes or a no. Be consciously interested to learn further about other individual or the topic that is being discussed, yet draw a line and remember your limits.
Build up the conversation. Communicate about your current and fresh experiences. For instance, the music at the gathering, the weather, the ambience, the food. Warm up to uncover your feelings and opinions; talking about your favourite sport or how the weather reminds you of Christmas with family etc. Actively respond to the other person’s quests, opinions etc and enjoy the similarities and differences amongst each other.
Remember names. Be thoughtful and attentive. Make a conscious effort to remember the conversation details. Most importantly, do not forget the names. There’s nothing more impressive, in striking a great conversation with someone, than remembering his/her name. Doing your homework about the individual’s interests, likes and dislikes etc won’t hurt.
Quick getaway. There are times when situations don’t work in your favour. To avoid awkwardness in such situations it’s best to make an excuse, to make a phone call or to get a drink for example, and swiftly escape or take a quick exit. Such exit tactics leave a room for you to join the discussion if required.
The art of small talk can help one build a stronger and lasting connection with other individuals, be it on personally or professionally. Conversing about your interests and knowing other people’s interests is an extraordinary experience. Who knows, possibly this casual conversation can be the beginning to an epic kinship or business relationship.
Regardless of whether you fail or succeed, you can learn from those experiences and practice for improvement. The more you practice conversing with individuals the more polished and confident you will turn out. These encounters can also turn out to be the most rewarding experiences for life.
Conversation Strategy used in Businesses
These five phases are proven to turn small talks into smart conversations providing effective communication at work place, which each entail two or more elements important to take action on at that particular moment in time.
The phases are:
- Developing / Reviewing
Taken together, the phases make up a continuous and cyclical process and can take place in parallel to each other.
When an company is assessing its methodology it will still be attempting to execute the prior strategy simultaneously. The stages overlap however, it is possible to join the procedure at any given stage or even join when a particular component is being worked at. Depending upon the idea of the system improvement and the impact of the key decisions the steps to take further can be decided. Managing the whole process is essential, however, so as to effectively negotiate all stages.
Additionally, recognising and displaying your behaviour around ‘experts’, you can give a try to role playing. You can set up hypothetical situations, with your colleagues, friends or a mentor, where you can describe the contact; their role; the place, and if there’s a business opportunity. A significant number of us fear role playing, to begin with, however, once we take up a ‘role’ and understand that we are not being judged – but rather we are practising to avoid awkward experiences – then it turns into a significant tool for shared learning and hardening great propensities.
If you are truly committed to becoming a smart conversationalist, you must consider the following:
Its important to show interest in others and pay attention while they speak even if you have little to no interest in the topic of discussion. Bring out your curious side and play out to be a good listener.
Simultaneously, sharing about yourself is equally important. Share little details about your life that you are comfortable with, that can help the other person learns more about you and create a stronger bond with you.
Indulge further to keep the conversation going, by asking questions related to the topic being discussed. You can also share your point of view of experiences to keep the conversation flowing.
Be carefree and fun. The lighthearted approach in a conversation will be an instant win as humans have a tendency to quickly get attracted to someone who spears fun and laughter. Use this trait to your advantage.
Infographic Content Source: Involve.eu