If you’re like a lot of people, engaging in small talk can feel awkward and tedious. Consequently, you avoid it as much you can. But my guest today argues that if you want to get ahead both personally and professionally, you need to embrace these little exchanges. Her name is Debra Fine and she’s the author of The Fine Art of Small Talk.
Today on the show, Debra explains why small talk is actually a big deal and isn’t just a waste of saliva. She then shares the biggest obstacles people have to engaging in small talk and the two mindset shifts you need to make to get over those obstacles. Debra and I then discuss specific tactics you can start using today to start conversations, keep them going, and end them gracefully. Lots of actionable advice that can immediately improve your day-to-day life, so take notes.
- How Debra became interested in the topic of small talk
- Why small talk is the appetizer to a good relationship
- How avoiding small talk can hamper your career and harm your child’s education
- How small talk makes you more visible to others
- Why don’t people like small talk?
- Assuming the burden of the other person’s comfort
- How to take the host mentality during small talk
- Why small talk takes real skill and practice
- How do you know if someone is approachable?
- Easy ways to approach people and introduce yourself
- Go-to conversation starters
- Why you shouldn’t ask about someone’s family
- Keeping the conversation going
- Avoiding the stop and chat
- How much to disclose about yourself in small talk
- The FORM acronym
- How to gracefully exit a conversation
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- AoM’s articles on conversation
- AoM’s series of social briefings
- Difficult Conversations, Small Talk, and Charisma
- The Art of Mingling
- The Power of Likeability
- A Better Way to Network
- Making Introductions: The FAQs
- Networking Without Networking
- The Importance of Building Your Social Capital
- The “stop and chat”
- How to End a Conversation
- How to Exit a Room
Connect With the Debra Fine
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(via The Art of Manliness)