Small talk seems like the kind of thing that every human should have mastered by the time they become an adult, right?
Well, for some of us, the thought of small talk floods us with – yep, you guessed it – anxiety.
I’ve come up with 4 simple ways to help you get through small talk:
- PLAN YOUR ANSWERS – Have a think about some of the questions that people would usually ask when they’re trying to get to know you, and write down your answers to all of those questions, and then memorise them. Most of the time, it is easiest to simply ask the question back to the person to keep the conversation flowing, so remember to add this to the end of your answer. When you plan what you need to say beforehand, you’ll find that you won’t be caught off guard during the conversation. Just remember not to sound like you’ve already written down a script when you answer someone’s question in real life – just be natural and casual.
- ASK QUESTIONS FIRST TO TAKE THE SPOTLIGHT OFF YOU – You might find that most people actually love to talk about themselves. You can tap into this and use it to your advantage; if you can make them do all the talking, you get to just sit back and listen. Similar to the first point, you can also plan your questions too. Think about what you would ask someone to get them talking for a while, so you don’t have to! Hint: Try to stay away from asking questions with a simple Yes or No answers, because in doing so, you will end up doing all the talking. Instead, ask open-ended questions to get the other person do all the chatting.
- DON’T PANIC IF THERE IS SILENCE – Most of us tend to overthink once a moment of “awkward” silence sets in. This usually happens when both parties have nothing new to talk about or simply do not know what to talk about at all. But don’t panic if this happens, try to keep calm and perhaps if you have a drink on you, take a small sip to fill the silence, or offer the person you’re talking to if they would like a drink, etc. Perhaps bring your attention to something they are wearing and give a small compliment. You can even bring the conversation back to the questions you prepared earlier. There are many ways to get through silences! This will bring us to the next point, which is to remember to…
- BREATHE – I know, I know, you’ve been told this a million times for a million different reasons and situations. But sometimes all you need to do is take a moment or two to take a breath. We tend to overthink easily and this can jumble up our thoughts and make it hard to form a sentence. There is no need to rush! Breathing is the main human function, right? Don’t be scared to stop and take a few deep breaths.
- BONUS TIP! DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE DIFFERENT – Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine. Although small talk leaves little room for you to show your true intelligence and charisma, you can still have fun with it! If you enjoy something a little different as a hobby, don’t be afraid to share it. If you love telling jokes ask the person you’re talking with what their favourite joke is, this will lighten the mood, and double as a method to take the spotlight off you!
Although small talk can be intimidating, these are some simple tips to help you feel more prepared with a game plan and make it that little bit less challenging next time!
YOU’VE GOT THIS!
Do you have some more tips? Leave them in the comments below!
Lots of love,