How To Use Small Talk to Start Effective Communication

When meeting a certain person for the first time, it seems a little hard to get on to a sensible conversation. There is some sort of awkwardness, rooting from the thought that the other person might ignore your efforts to start a conversation or he might not move along to where you want the conversation to go. The trick here is to start a small talk. Beginning a conversation with a small talk establishes a rapport between the two of you and makes the subsequent communication unforced. Learn how to this by reading the following tips.

  • Talk about generic topics. You can practically talk about anything under the sun—the coffee shop you are at, the coffee you are drinking, the book he is reading, the car he is driving, and a lot of other things. You can also talk about current events, but make sure that the other person is comfortable discussing such topics.
  • Be as natural as possible. Laugh if you want to laugh. Frown if you have to. You don’t have to fake your feedback just to win the other person’s interest or approval. The truth is that the other person might sense it and might withdraw his interest.
  • Listen well. In a small talk, you must listen as much as you talk. In fact, in certain cases, it is much better to listen more. So try not to monopolize the conversation. Give the other person a chance to talk, and when he does, give him your ears. To assure him of your attention, respond in non-verbal ways. Nod. Keep an eye contact. And let your eyes demonstrate a variety of feedbacks. Also, learn to listen with your other senses. Pay attention to the person’s body languages and facial reactions.
  • Throw in some humor. Small talk should be light and casual, so it helps to crack a few jokes. Interspersing humor into the conversation is especially important if the conversation starts to get argumentative and unfriendly. However, be very mindful of your jokes. What could be a joke to you might not be a joke to someone else. So choose your words and timing properly.
  • Avoid rushing the conversation. If you are targeting to discuss a particular topic, never get there head on. Let the conversation flow. If you abruptly change the topic, the mood of the conversation might abruptly plateau, which could lead to the early death of the small talk.
  • Learn to make follow-ups. Conversations are sometimes marked with dead air. It’s normal. But if dead air lasts for more than three seconds, effective communication is not going to happen. Therefore, learn the art of making follow-up statements. Ask further questions. Or comment on something the other person has said. If you can’t think of a good follow-up, better change the topic at once.

Experts say that success is partly influenced by interpersonal and communication skills. So if you want to be successful in your profession, business, or personal life, learn how to start an effective communication with a small talk.


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