Am I the only one who uses weather as a go to small talk topic every time? I guess you are also guilty. Let’s face it, black people are not wired to engage in small talks and we often struggle with this. Most people I know don’t even bother about small talk as they have no idea what the effect this may have on their careers, or whether this can serve as a tool to build relationships or network more effectively.
Small talks are sometimes lost on black people due to the fact that we are not always open to showing our vulnerabilities. We were brought up with a mentality to not overshare or tell the other person what is happening in our lives, the fear of village people . This, in my opinion, is one of the numerous reasons we shy away from small talks.
So, let’s do a quick re-introduction of what small talk is:
It is an avenue to talk about yourself and your interests. What other meaning do you have or know?
Benefits of small talks:
– It improves conversation and networking skills
– It helps establish a common ground between people who have mutual interests
– From small talks, ideas are birthed, friendships are forged and business enterprises can emerge!
– It helps you establish new networks and easy ties. Easy ties are people you just met but warmed up to. Studies have shown that your easy ties can help find jobs or open doors to new opportunities than close friends.
How to excel in Small Talks?
Just like many things in life, excelling at small talk is all about preparation. If you have some plan and strategy to follow, you are more likely to feel more at ease when having small talks with people. Below are some tips to help you prepare in advance:
⁃ Reveal something about yourself. To break the ice, summon the courage to smile and introduce yourself: “I work in the next department over and heard that this is your first week here. I’ve only been here a month myself. How’s it going so far?”
⁃ Consciously listen for facts and feelings that another may share with you: “You mentioned that you can’t wait to get home. Have you been away for business or pleasure?”
⁃ Highlight similarities: “How old is your son? I have a little one at home about his age.”
⁃ Ask open ended questions: “Did you hear about the couple who won the lottery? What would you do if you won?”
⁃ Explore another’s interests: “I noticed that your T-shirt has an image of Stranger things, have you seen the latest episode?
Now that we are here, I know it’s still probably hard but let’s talk about it. How do you feel about engaging in small talks? What are your go-to lines? Have you ever been stuck in a conversation?