Small talk your way to the top of the business world

Small Talk

It’s a necessary evil across the world and while some people excel at shooting the breeze, not everyone has the confidence to discuss the little things in life with such ease. Taking on these tips could help you climb your way through the chatter like a pro though so listen up!

Talking about the weather is about as thrilling as watching paint dry but perfecting that ‘really interested’ facial expression is an art form that everyone could benefit from learning. It sort of involves tilting your head slightly, squinting in your eyes in slight concentration and breaking out into a beaming smile every so often. 1…2…3…Go!

Names. Learn them, use them, appreciate them.

We’ve all done it; asked for someone’s name and barely even processed the answer let alone allowed it to slip through the grey matter between our ears to remember. But doesn’t it make you feel a little special when someone says your name with a bright smile, like ‘yeah, your name is worth remembering.’ If there is anything you take from a conversation with a stranger, let it be their name.

Ask questions

Show an interest in the person you are talking to; ask how their weekend was, their journey, what evening plans they have or whether they’re enjoying the stimulating conference on Fruit Bats that you’re both attending.

Elaborate those one word answers.

Nothing is more difficult that conversing with someone who has the personality of a wet dish cloth and you can’t make conversation with simple answers like ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘maybe so’. Inject a little personality into your tone and tack a little sentence onto the end of that one-word reply. Even better? Bounce that question right back.

Equally, know when to simmer down

While attempting to chat to a person with as much conversation as a brick wall can be a challenge, it’s equally as hard work trying to get a word in edgeways. The emphasis is on small talk, guys. Know it when you see it and resist the urge to explain last night’s dinner in minute detail.

React to conversation

Sometimes you’re sitting there, minding your own business, thinking about how much you don’t want to take the dog for a walk in the rain tonight when all around you there is shop-talk going on. Just because you aren’t being asked questions, it doesn’t mean participation isn’t required. Nod, smile, agree and bring some input in the form of experience to the table.

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