I Stink At Small Talk
There’s an issue in my life, and it’s something of which I need to be constantly aware.
Historically, small talk is not a strong point of mine.
Many of the people I work with share this chatty disability.
Don’t get me wrong… I can talk with the best of them, but that’s not necessarily “small talk.” I’d love to have a purposeful conversation anytime our schedules allow… yes, please! What I’m referring to is the (seemingly) meaningless chatter that doesn’t end in big ideas or revelations.
ONE BIG PROBLEM WITH THIS: You have to master small talk to master networking; you have to master networking to be successful. In some way, shape, or form… you need a network. It’s best to rip this band-aid off quickly and get on with the small talk.
Today I’m sharing my step-by-step best ways to break past your perceived inability and launch into relationship-building cud-chewing.
- STOP TELLING YOURSELF YOU STINK AT IT. Self-fulfilling prophecy is real, people. First, you have to stop telling yourself you’re terrible at something and focus on improving in that area.
- Decide what topics are most interesting to you so you have a starting-off point. If you introduce the topic, it will be something you can discuss and which does not bore you.
- Be present. Small talk is difficult for people with packed schedules who are always on-the-go. That’s because instead of being present in the moment, we’re thinking about what we are doing next.
If the small talk doesn’t involve a topic that gets our juices going, add boredom and distraction to the mental to-do list you’re running down as the other person keeps jawing. The other stuff is going to happen, so your best bet for succeeding in either not seeming like a total jerk, or at very least seeming to be a nice person is to pay attention.
It’s a meditation technique called mindfulness. That just means being present in the moment at hand and in no other moment.
- Be open. I love talking with people because every conversation is an opportunity for me to grow or learn something. I do realize what a huge geek I sound like and that may sound utopian to some, however, I’m absolutely serious. For far too long in my life, I was out to prove something. Being open means you’re not proving anything (necessarily) but are a sponge for what you do not yet know. Be open especially to opinions that are opposite of your own – this doesn’t mean you’re going to change (though you may) but being aware of the oppositional opinions of others may help make you an even more compelling conversationalist or apologist for your cause.
More than anything, effective small talk’s crowning glory is a genuine nature of curiosity. This is a skill I work on with all of my clients. It improves every situation, conversation, relationship, interaction, transaction, and also reduces stress. It takes practice for us to turn our attention from our internal opinions to curiosity.
We can work on it together – your first session is absolutely free, and you can book it by clicking here.