There's nothing that I used to hate more than engaging in what I call 'elevator conversations'. I thought small talk was useless chatter exchanged between individuals for the sake of not being comfortable with silence.
Don't get me wrong: silence can be a golden experience, but it's usually just awkward when you're meeting someone for the first time or you're on a date with someone you've been trying to ask out for a long time. Determining the mood of these kinds of scenarios will lead you to understand the impact that a few words can have on a person.
Small Talk Rocks!
Getting over the small talk jitters can be challenging, and there's nothing to feel embarrassed about if you need some help along the way. The first step to improvement is knowing that it's not just a waste of time. There's value to small talk, and it can eventually have a positive impact on your life.
Small Talk Etiquette
- Make Eye Contact
People are drawn to those that exude confidence. Making, and keep eye contact, will make the person you're talking to feel comfortable about opening up as well. This gesture indicates that you have nothing to hide and want to make a genuine connection.
- Use Head Nods Sparingly
Nodding your head is a good way to show that you're listening to what the other person is say. Try keeping this action down to a minimum, though. Some individuals interpret too much head-nodding as an indication that they're not interesting and the person they're talking to is rushing them to end the conversation.
- Actively Listen
Be sure you're digesting what the speaker tells you. There's nothing worse than repeating what someone has already said. It makes you appear rude and disinterested.
Let people finish their sentences before responding. This confirms that you're not just waiting for the chance to speak your point. Not interrupting signifies that you actually care about the other person's views.
- Not Thinking Before Speaking
Sometimes saying something out of rashness is worse than saying nothing at all. Take time to consider what you'll say so you don't risk offending the person you're talking to. There's hardly ever a chance to make amends once the damage is done.
- Bad Jokes
People have different types of personalities. What's funny to you might not be humorous to someone else. Avoid sarcasm or making jokes that seem dark, insulting, or over-the-top.
Benefits of Small Talk
- It's an Ice Breaker
Very few people know the joys of jumping into a friendship without having to build a person's trust. Small talk can be a great icebreaker when meeting someone. The goal is to be warm and approachable.
- It's the Foundation of a Budding Relationship
Small things often opens the door to bigger, better things. Engaging in small talk establishes a good report with others and can eventually lead to the larger, meaningful conversations that you desire. Just go with the flow and gradually, you and your small talk buddy could move into deeper territory.
- You Gain Confidence
If it weren't for small talk, some people would probably not take a chance on interacting with others at all. Practicing this art helps you come out of your comfort zone and strike up conversations with strangers easily. Before you know it, you'll have it down to a science.