The beauty of small talk lies in its lack of functionality and deeper meaning. Here are out top 5 tips for mastering small talk.
1. Educate yourself on recent events
Small talk is heavily based on having an agreeable or otherwise common subject to discuss. While weather might be one way to interact with people around you, eventually you will get tired of having nothing else to fall back on. Educate yourself about the most recent and interesting news that concerns your region and country (while world news might work too, it is much more likely a person has heard or knows something about a more specific place that you are both in). Try to avoid politics and religion though as those may be heated or sensitive topics for some and you ought to stay positive and pleasant, instead focus on great and warming news such as discoveries, winnings and similar.
2. Learn several phrases
You do not have to rely on a spontaneous thought that crosses your mind every time you face the possibility of small talk. It is also possible that sometimes all those thoughts disappear altogether as well. Nobody is going to judge you (or to even find out, really) that you have looked up some phrases online and used them whenever necessary. THAT might even be your small talk initiation: ‘You know, I am not the greatest at small talk, I even tried looking up some phrases online but nothing changed’. Small talk might be rather difficult for many people so it will sound relatable and fun, and for those gifted individuals that are great at the art of conversation it will make you appear in a much more easy-going light.
3. Pay attention to the person you’re talking to
While it might seem like everyone is looking at you, thinking about what you are saying and doing or even judging you, believe it, that is not the case. In fact, if you are worried about all those things, why should not the other person be as well? So remember this the next time you think somebody is picking at every detail of your speech, appearance and manners, they are probably too focused on their own words to notice. Thus, try to pay attention to the other person, listen in on what they’re saying and try to make them comfortable by presenting yourself as a welcoming, open-minded and warm person who actually hears what is being said. That way, not only will you not have to worry about yourself but the other person will be very appreciative of you.
Do not be afraid to put yourself out there. If you are thinking of waiting until you are ready to try your luck at small talk, forget that! Without practicing even the most planned conversation may turn into a disaster, which you can easily avoid by giving small talk a shot any time you have a chance. This way you will become more flexible and able to accomodate any situation and any answer thrown at you no problem.
5. Do not give it too much meaning
The beauty of small talk lies in its lack of functionality and deeper meaning. All it is, is an exchange of simple, relatable phrases that do not tell the other person much about you nor reveal significant details about them. Then why should you make more of it than what it is? Do not burden yourself and try to enjoy small talk for what it is, accepting as one of the many English language phenomena. You can read more about small talk here sciencebird.org/what-is-small-talk.