Making small talk can feel daunting, especially after months of video meetings and remote work. If you are finding it hard to get back into the swing of things, don’t worry — here are some easy tips for making small talk.
Listen & Ask Questions
You must walk before you run. And you must listen before you speak. As you engage in small talk, pay close attention to what the other person says. When necessary (and appropriate) ask for details. This shows that you are interested, present, and engaged in the conversation.
Use What’s Around You
The term “conversation starter” exists for a reason. Using the things around you is one of the simplest ways to spark a conversation. You can also use this simple principle to ask meaningful questions, as we suggested earlier. For example, if the other person is carrying a notebook, you could ask them if they’re working on a project or if they need help with something.
Learn How to Use Different Types of Questions
Learning the different types of questions you can make will help you navigate small talk with greater ease. Here are three types of questions and how to use them during a conversation.
- Closed questions. These questions can be answered with a single word or with “Yes or “No.” For example, “Where are you from?” or “Do you like football?”
- Open questions. As the name implies, the answers to this type of question are open-ended and usually can’t be summarized in a single word. For example, “Why did you choose your pet’s name?”
- Follow-up Questions. Use these questions to get more information after asking a closed or open question. For example, after asking “Where are you from?” you could ask “How’s the weather there?”
More Tips and Ideas
From returning to the office after the pandemic to the right structure for your business and everything in between, these are some previous posts you can check out for more ideas on how to lead with confidence:
- 3 Easy, low cost strategies to get your business noticed online
- Tips to win the war for talent
- How to use social media to grow your career
- 3 Tips to prevent and address employee burnout
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