Some of us might prefer a deep, meaningful conversation over a small talk. However, upon meeting a new person, we are rarely in a situation where we could jump into a serious discussion. That is when need small talk.
If it is done correctly, small talk can be comfortable. The key is keeping the small talk casual, not bringing any discomfort, but is still good enough to connect two people. For example, we should go with topics that both persons like rather than dislike.
There are also several things to avoid when trying to connect to our interlocutor. We should avoid making fun of or commenting on our interlocutor’s physical appearance, as we cannot be sure if the interlocutor is comfortable to discuss about that.
Here is what we recommend to make our small talk more enjoyable but still courteous.
- Start with a friendly greeting and a smile.
Smile is a universal language and it almost always earns us a positive feedback from our interlocutor.
- Use an approachable body language.
We should keep our phone away for a while and look at the interlocutor. By doing so, we are giving signal to our interlocutor that we are paying attention.
- Avoid pointing out somebody’s lacking in something.
Physical appearance, except for the good things, is rarely a pleasant topic. Try not to mention about somebody’s weight or age or mismatched clothes. Instead, compliment the person on something. Tell him that his hair looks great or his face is radiant.
- Find a common ground.
Find a topic that both we and our interlocutor can relate to and that can possibly be extended to a longer conversation. For example, favourite sports, favourite TV shows, favourite teachers, etc. Who knows by the end of the conversation, we already recommend new TV shows to watch to each other?
- Tell something about ourselves, but not too much.
We can start with something we like but we should also ask our interlocutor’s opinion. Remember, if the interlocutor feels like we never give him a chance to speak, he can easily get bored.
- Listen well.
Not only will our interlocutor feel appreciated, listening well and paying attention can also help us find more common grounds, which means more topics to talk about.
- Mention about hanging out again.
If you really enjoy talking to each other, express your interest to meet again. We can try saying, “We should talk more about this over coffee,” or something similar.
- Say goodbye nicely.
Although small talk is often a pastime during a certain event, we should make our interlocutor feel important. Therefore, when we bid adieu, we should also express that we hope to hear from our interlocutor.
We can say:
“I’ll see you around.”
“I hope we can meet again soon.”
“It’s been a pleasure talking to you.”
All in all, our eloquence can always be improved by practicing more. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.”
So never get tired of practicing, fellas. Try making small talks with your friends and teacher every day in English.