No matter which type of setting you are in, be it a professional or personal relationship, it would have started with small talk. If you would not take the initiative to talk with somebody, your social circle would not widen and your business opportunities will be limited to those who you already know. This is the reason why you need to learn how to make small talk so that you will be able to connect with other people in any social setting.
However, making small talk is not a skill that a lot of people have. Sometimes, engaging in even the most casual of conversations is enough to make someone nervous. The good news is that making small talk is an acquired skill – something that you can develop. You just need to know how to get started and here are some small talk topics that you can use to get things going:
1. Talk about the setting.
For example, if you are waiting in line for coffee, make a casual but pleasant comment about how long the line is. In a business setting, a simple comment about the decor or the ambiance of the place. Talking about the setting will give others the signal that you are willing to make small talk. If you get another comment in response, then a casual conversation will start. If you just get a polite smile in return, then the other person may not be as willing to start a conversation with you, which should be your signal to back off a little.
2. Talk about the things that you would like to know about someone that you just met.
If you remember that time when you first met the person who is now your best friend, do you remember what you first talked about? The getting-to-know each other phase should give you small talk topics. Where they work, where they live, what they do for a living, their family – these are just some of the neutral topics that can be your basis for making small talk. People naturally want to talk about themselves and these things should break the ice and keep the words flowing.
3. Talk about how their day has been so far.
If you do not normally strike up a conversation with a neighbor that you always run into in the hallway, or with the cashier in the supermarket that you always go to, asking them how their day has been so far is a great way to make small talk. Also, practice makes perfect and if you are not the outgoing type, there is no better way to start than now so you should go out of your way and give out the impression to casual acquaintances that you are easy to talk to. Some small talk would not hurt anybody, in fact it gives you an opportunity to broaden your social and personal relationships.
4. Talk about current events.
What is happening in the country and even around the world, news and current events are just some of the small talk topics that you can choose to strike up a casual conversation with someone. Talk about what you recently heard in the news, or a human interest item that caught your eye on TV, or an article in a magazine that you found interesting.
By knowing these small talk topics by heart, you will never run out of things to say. When making small talk, remember to keep the conversation just that – quick and casual, and do not try to drag it out into one of those long, drawn-out and awkward conversations. End the small talk gracefully and make a comment about how nice it is to have chatted with the person that you are speaking with. With these tips in mind, making small talk will be a piece of cake for you!