Many of us freeze when we meet or reconnect with someone at a “Networking event “and struggle with ‘what to talk about’ and how to overcome the fear of ‘Small talk’. Remember the great phrase about FEAR– it stands for “False Expectations Appearing Real”. Often we psych ourselves up in a way that we create the ‘freeze’ in our brain….
*You can always start with a simple Hello and give someone a compliment and you can do this in everyday life because as we know that is where ‘real’ networking and opportunities present themselves.
Practice doing this and reaching out on your elevator or familiar locale on the way to work or anywhere in your life. No matter what you will be perceived as a friendlier and nicer person– because you reached out. And it starts with a simple, genuine smile.
*Become a greeter at an event– automatically you get to say Hello- and address people by name. You can always ask “how was your weekend?” ” Any plans for your next day off”– or you might build off a previous conversation you had with them– and they will be pleased with your great memory skills and the fact that you listened. Remember to always carry your note cards to remember information people tell you and input it into your Information Bank. ( If anyone needs a refresher of the Information Bank- send me a note and I will resend)
Here are some “small talk questions” that I have gathered to start the conversation so you say something a little more creative than ” What do you think of the weather?”
*How do you spend your days? This way someone can talk about a hobby, passion, special interest and of course their work and/or something entirely different? It can truly start the conversation and you can listen and you can always follow it up with my favorite phrase- “Tell me more”.
*What are you reading today? Expect all types of answers and you can learn a lot about someone’s interests very quickly.
*If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Funny yet I always get lots of interesting answers or people bridge to another related topic.
*Do you have any upcoming travel plans or activities that will take you on the road? This is always a favorite of mine since I love to travel. You can learn so much from people as they tell you everything from where they are planning to go; or why they don’t travel to a great activity they are interested in.
Follow some of these and see how they work- and you will never be at a loss for ‘Small talk’ again and as I always say– “Small Talk leads to Big Talk”.
Also- send me some of your favorite ones and I will add to my list and give you credit.