Summer is a popular time for block parties and other get-togethers.
But if the thought of having to make small talk gives you butterflies, use these helpful pointers to help you chitchat with ease.
- Come prepared. Have a mental list of topics you can discuss. For example, you could ask about your coworker’s golf game or their home renovations. If you’re unsure of what to talk about, you could discuss aspects of the event itself, such as the weather or food.
- Introduce yourself. Sometimes the easiest way to start a conversation is to simply introduce yourself and ask for the other person’s name. You can then follow up with questions about their family, work, or hobbies.
- Ask for details. Pose questions that require a longer response than one-word answers, such as, “What are your plans for this summer?” or “How did your week go?” People love talking about themselves, and, if you give them a chance, they may keep the conversation going.
- Pay a compliment. Giving someone an honest compliment can brighten their day and spur conversation. For example, if you tell someone you like their outfit, they may add where they purchased it. You could respond with additional questions about the shop they visited and if they’ve bought anything else there. You might have a shopping tidbit you could share too.
- Be an active listener. Being good at chitchat isn’t only about talking—it’s also about listening to the other person. A good strategy could be to simply worry less about what you are going to say and pay more attention to what the other person is saying.
- Make a graceful exit. Sometimes the pain involved with small talk is associated with feeling trapped in a conversation. If a topic or person doesn’t interest you, you could carefully try to change the focus of the discussion or tactfully excuse yourself.
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