Small talk is seen as an essential part of daily life and common to office conversation. In fact, it is often the awkward moment when you are greeting people and feel the need to be polite before talking about more serious matters.
Of course, there are those that love to chatter away about all sorts of things; their small talk can quickly stretch from “what have you been doing?” to telling you all about their latest car or business venture.
But, while small talk is necessary, the real skill is learning how to quickly move the conversation into an area that really matters.
For instance, if you are thinking of starting a company you will want to talk to a specialist regarding the right option for your new business. But you will not want to waste time talking about the weather. This is generally possible when you conduct specific business meetings.
The good news is that you can turn any conversation into a smart conversation simply by following these tips:
Engage and Listen
The first step is too simple – engage the person on a more intimate level than simply “how are you today?” Instead you can try “What have you been doing today?” or “What brings you here?”
These are questions which should get more than just a yes or no answer; allowing you to have a more interesting conversation.
It is easy to start a conversation but harder to listen! You need to pay attention to what the other person is saying and respond. You actually do not need to say much in order to learn a lot about them and what makes them tick.
Share – But Keep It Short!
Of course, to have a conversation you also need to share some information about yourself. The point here is to provide short snippets regarding your own interests and hobbies; or anything else you wish to talk about.
When you share in short sentences you will either get an interested response or a “that’s cool” type answer. This tells you to try a different approach. By using lots of short statements you can quickly find a common subject for you to both talk about.
One thing to note is that when you share information about yourself this means a few pertinent bits not your entire life story.
Many people find it hard to share honest thoughts about themselves or their own beliefs but honesty is generally a good policy when moving small talk to smart conversation. This will allow you and others to gauge whether you can have a friendly debate, share the same views or even find it impossible to talk.
Honesty will allow you to assess the reaction of your companion; there is no shame in accepting that smart conversation is not possible with everyone. Sometimes it is better to leave it; you have tried and can try again with others.
On a final note, you may find it beneficial when meeting new people to get some background information on them first this will help you to steer the conversation in the right direction.