How to Make Small Talk

can be a big challenge, but a little preparation and confidence is all you need. As a skilled small talker you will come across as a more open and friendly person, compared to someone who doesn’t say much during social situations. Just don’t overdo it because then people will find you annoying and too chatty.

Instructions

1 Practice. Converse with everyone you come across: cashiers, waiters, people you’re in line with, neighbors, co-workers and kids. Chat with folks unlike yourself, from seniors to teens to tourists.

2 Read everything: cookbooks, newspapers, magazines, reviews, product inserts, maps, signs and catalogs. Everything is a source of information that can be discussed.

3 Force yourself to get into small talk situations, like doctors’ waiting rooms, cocktail parties and office meetings. Accept invitations, or host your own gathering.

4 Immerse yourself in culture, both high and low. Television, music, sports, fashion, art and poetry are great sources of chat. If you can’t stand Shakespeare, that too is a good topic for talk.

5 Keep a journal. Write down funny stories you hear, beautiful things you see, quotes, observations, shopping lists and calls you made. That story of the long-distance operator misunderstanding you could become an opening line.

6 Talk to yourself in the mirror. a random list of topics and see what you have to say on the subjects. Baseball, Russia, butter, hip-hop, shoes …the more varied your list, the better.

7 Expand your horizons. Go home a new way. Try sushi. Play pinball. Go online. Paint a watercolor. Bake a pie. Try something new every day.

8 Be a better listener. Did your boss just say she suffers from migraines? Did your doctor just have twins? These are opportunities for making small talk.

9 Work on confidence, overcoming shyness and any feelings of stage fright. Remember, the more you know, the more you know you can talk about.

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