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If You Hate Small Talk Read This

Small talk creates advantage.

You harm yourself, limit opportunities, and frustrate your career when you avoid polite conversations.

Who enjoys more opportunity? The person who avoids people or the person who gets to know people?

4 reasons small talk is a big deal:

#1. Healthy relationships are never all business.

Very happy people tend to be highly social. Unhappy people have social relationships that are significantly worse than average.

Social relationships are not sufficient in themselves to produce high levels of happiness, but they are an essential ingredient. Diener and Seligman

#2. Thin social connection comes before deep trust.

We get to know people before we trust them.

#3. Collaboration includes chitchat.

We collaborate with people we know. Laughing together over lunch is one way we get to know people.

#4. Lighthearted conversation sets a positive tone.

A kind word and a smile say you care. We let people know we care about them in casual ways.

5 steps to successful small talk:

#1. Show up with a plan.

Planned spontaneity is better than winging it.

  1. Reflect on ways to put others at ease.
  2. Determine the goal of casual conversations.
  3. Show up with a set of questions.

#2. Deal with discomfort by turning outward instead of inward.

Dwelling on yourself shrinks your world. Small talk expands it. (Potentially)

#3. Talk to yourself in helpful ways.

Tell yourself ‘you can’ when your inner critic says ‘you can’t’.

#4. Show up with a set of questions.

  1. What do you do? How did you get interested in that?
  2. Where do you live? What was your hometown like?
  3. What place would you love to visit?

#5. Share a bit of yourself.

You’re nosy if you only ask questions.

Bonus: Give yourself an exit strategy. “Great to meet you. Please excuse me, I want to greet some other people.”

What small-talk-tips can you add?

Still curious: Please Stop Talking about Work for 10 Minutes

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