If you are an introvert the most dreaded thing for you is a social gathering. Because people expect you to mingle and catch-up. You probably suck at small talk as well. Though it seems impossible but one can master the small talk with some effort. In this article, I’ll focus on the main ideas of how to improve small talk but if you are determined to completely master it I recommend the book “The fine art of Small Talk” by Debra Fine.
1. Listen More:
Starting the conversation by introducing yourself makes a very good impression. Be comfortable and confident when introducing. When you initiate the conversation you get to ask and listen more. People like to talk about themselves and let them. When you allow them to talk and show that you are listening interestingly they feel important.
2. Make a list:
Prepare a small list of conversation starters and use them according to the situation. Asking follow-up questions will make the conversation more alive. Mostly ask open-ended questions so that the person answering can expand more. This keeps the conversation going in a positive way.
3. Things to avoid:
Don’t go deep into the personal affairs and avoid controversial topics until you know that the person is okay with them. If you feel that the person is feeling even slightly uncomfortable with the topic change it immediately.
4. Tell Stories:
Okay, you can say that this is all about asking questions and listening what happens when they ask me questions. People love stories. When asked something about you don’t give single answers which are abrupt. Tell it like a story because it makes them more involved. Telling a story does not mean that you have to make it up but just tell your regular answer in a story format.
5. Ending the talk:
The final and the most important part is knowing when to leave. Don’t leave in the middle of a conversation. Listen what they are saying and wait until it is over. Always leave on a positive note. Express your feeling about them and excuse yourself from there. If you end on a positive note chances are people will remember you in a good way.
When you practice this enough number of times you will be one of those social butterflies. As listening is the main key here I suggest you to be genuinely interested in knowing about people because it becomes easier if you do. As Debra Fine says –
“Small talk is the verbal equivalent of that first domino: It starts a chain reaction with all kinds of implications for your life.”