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Struggle To Make Small Talk?
Small talk can be a big problem. I want to be friendly and polite, but I just can’t think of a thing to say.Here are some strategies I try when my mind is a blank:
1. Comment on a topic common to both of you at the moment: the food the room the occasion the weather (yes, talking about the weather is a cliche, but it works)
2. Comment on a topic of general interest.A friend scans Google News right before he goes anywherewhere he needs to make small talk.
3. Ask a question that people cananswer as they please. It’s useful because it allows people to choosetheir focus (work, volunteer, family, hobby).
4. Ask open questionsthat can’t be answeredwith a single word.
5. If you do ask a question that can be answered in a single word, instead of just supplying your own information in response,ask a follow-up question.
6. Ask getting-to-know-you questions.These questions often reveal a hidden passion,which can make for great conversation.
7. React to what a person says in the spirit inwhich that comment was offered. If he makes a joke, even if it’s not very funny, try to laugh. If she offers some surprising information, react with surprise.
8. Be slightly inappropriate.(I can’t use this strategy, myself, becauseI don’t have the necessary gumption).
9. Follow someone’s conversational lead.If someone obviously drops in a reference toa subject, pick up on that thread.
10. Along the same lines, counter-intuitively,don’t try to talk aboutyour favorite topic,because you’ll be temptedto talk too much. Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!
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