Top Small Talk Topics for Business


Small talk can sometimes seem like an arduous process of merely filling the dead air with something, anything you can think of to keep the night moving forward, or to ward of the awkward, unyielding silence that seems to hover just above any human interaction. And yet, small talk is a necessary component of interpersonal communication in business and personal lives, used to “grease the wheels” of social interaction, to smooth out the inevitably rough edges of meeting people for the first time. It can be, with the right frame of mind, an enjoyable pastime all by itself.

In that spirit, here are seven fun small talk topics to talk about in every situation.


Though it may not seem like it at first blush, sports are actually a great topic to discuss in small talk situations because just about everyone has an opinion about it, good or bad. Something as simple as bringing up the local team and how they’re doing is usually enough to kick off a conversation even with those least interested in sports of any kind. And if you hate sports, well, feel free to talk about that to.


News is a funny thing. It’s always fresh, each and every single day, with plenty of ripe, juicy events and headlines leaping off the pages and into conversations all over the world. If you’re looking for something to talk about, keep a keen eye out for the news of the day to help get you started.


Travel is a great topic to talk about in business. Everybody who travels loves to talk about it, and everyone who doesn’t travel also loves to talk about, because they hope to very soon be traveling. This is not only a great way to kick off a small talk conversation, but it is a great way to share tips, anecdotes and horror stories for future reference.


This is a broad enough topic that just about everyone will be happy to discuss it and make good conversation. Bring up the jazz club that just opened or a great restaurant or the movie theater across town. Chances are most everyone would love to discuss it with you.


This is a great topic to talk about because people have fairly clear feelings about their family, for good or bad. Sharing the good stories or commiserating with the bad is a great way to fill a few minutes of small talk conversation. Introverts and extroverts are more than able to talk about their family making it a (hopefully) fun topic.


Talking about work can be a great way to network with colleagues or share the pain in a slumping economy. Even if the person is a workaholic, they’ll love to share their struggles with someone.


TV makes a great topic because everyone has one, and the few outliers (I’ve found to exist especially in business) that don’t are more than happy to talk about how much they hate TV.

Get more tips to better socialize and develop effective social skills.

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7 Simple Tips For Building Trust


Building trust between you and your potential client is a very important step that needs to occur first or else they won’t buy from you.  In fact, building trust is a prerequisite to selling.  So how do you go about building this trust?  Following are 7 tips.

Tip #1  When having a sales conversation, explore whether you can help the person get what they want.

Forget about selling because as soon as someone feels you’re trying to sell something, they’ll instinctively not trust you.  That’s just human nature.  If, however, someone feels you are genuinely trying to help them, then they’ll be more likely to trust you and buy from you.

Tip #2   Ask questions – be sincere.

When you sincerely ask a potential client questions and you come from the perspective that you want to understand if you can help them, the more likely they are to trust you. Please note that I use the word “sincerely.” People will know if you’re just asking questions because you think you ought to.

Tip #3  Listen to people – be sincere.

When you ask someone questions, actively and sincerely (there’s that word again) listen to their answers.  Put yourself in their shoes and listen from their perspective.  Be fully present and release all judgement.  The more you sincerely listen to someone the more they will trust you.

Tip #4  Watch what you’re thinking.
You may not realize it, but when you’re talking to a potential client, they will pick up on what you’re thinking and feeling.  There is no hiding this!  Therefore, before you have a sales conversation get in the appropriate thinking mode so you’re feeling and thinking thoughts that will result in the person trusting you.

Tip #5  Do what it takes to build up your confidence.

If you don’t feel confident about having a sales conversation, people will sense it.  If you’re not confident, chances are the person you’re talking to will not feel confident about you.  This will impact the level of trust.  Identify ways you can increase your confidence in having a sales conversation.  What courses can you take, what books can you read and so on? 

Tip #6  ‘Be’ Your Word.

In your conversations with people, ensure that what you say you will do and what you do are in 100% alignment.  If you’re not in alignment you won’t go far. ‘Be’ your word and people (including yourself) will trust you.

Tips #1 through #6 are essential but if you really want to accelerate the process of building trust read Tip #7.

Tip #7   Get yourself known as the expert  in your niche/target market.

People trust experts.  People believe (rightly or wrongly) that you wouldn’t have reached “expert” status unless you know what you’re doing. If you’re serious about building your business and building trust, get yourself known.

Implement these 7 simple tips and you’ll be amazed at the increase in trust you’ll generate.  I assure you this will result in more business for you. 

(c) Tessa Stowe, Sales Conversation, 2006. You are welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end).

Tessa Stowe teaches coaches, service professionals and recovering salespeople 10 simple steps to turn conversations into clients without being sales-y or pushy. Her FREE monthly Sales Conversation newsletter is full of tips on how to sell your services by just being yourself. Sign up now at

Article Author: Tessa Stowe

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 Tessa Stowe works with self employed professionals who are struggling to sell their Services. To learn more about this and to sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit her site at NOTE: You are welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint to


Building Trust in the Workplace: A Valuable Topic for Leadership Training


Trust is the foundation of all successful interpersonal relationships, both personal and business. Trust is the confidence or belief a person feels toward a particular person or group. Trust is, therefore, one of the primary binding forces in any interpersonal relationship. It permits people to overcome doubts and unknowns and enjoy peace of mind. The absence of trust causes confusion, worry, inaction, and fear. When interpersonal trust is present, a person feels a confidence that everything will somehow work out. In the workplace, trust is a prerequisite for effective interpersonal communications. Without trust, employees may feel uncertainty, worry, and a sense of insecurity. No relationship, personal or business, can exist for even a short period of time if some element of trust is not present. Trust is an essential leadership training ingredient that binds any human relationship into an effective, working partnership.
Even though trust is fundamental to human relationships, it is actually misunderstood by many people. People use trust, or the lack of it, to explain good and bad relationships with others. Consider the cliché phrases: “Don’t worry, you can trust me” and “Just trust me.” Trust has become both a buzzword and an excuse in our society. Trust is as much abused as it is used in today’s business world. It is used to define and explain; yet few leadership training programs have seriously considered what it is and what it is not.
Psychologists are just beginning to learn how trust really works. Research suggests that trusting relationships are predictable, caring, and faithful. When a manager’s behavior is consistent over a period of time and another person can reasonably predict that behavior, trust is possible. By contrast, it is difficult to trust a person whose actions are inconsistent or unpredictable.

Caring in a relationship involves actions that express consideration toward the other person. Through effective leadership training, a caring supervisor knows when final exams are scheduled at the local college and asks employees who will be taking the tests how much time off will be needed to study. A caring supervisor finds out about a birth, death, anniversary, graduation, or sickness and sends a card to the employee’s home.

Faith is the belief that an employee’s behavior will be in direct response to the trust placed in that relationship. Faith can be demonstrated by communicating clear expectations and then telling the employee, “I know you and I believe you can accomplish this assignment.” Managers who have difficulty demonstrating faith in others typically have difficulty trusting them as well.  Trust as a leadership training component can help change this.

Building trust in the workplace is vital for a long-lasting, satisfying, rewarding, and successful relationship. Leadership training helps effective managers practice behaviors that promote and build trusting relationships. They learn to do this with consistent actions each day. In return they obtain the benefits of high-trust employee relations. These benefits include higher morale, increased initiative, improved honesty, and better productivity.  All are important aspects of a profitable and rewarding business experience.
It’s not uncommon for people to use the word “trust” to describe a feeling they have regarding some interpersonal relationships. Trust does not magically appear in a relationship without certain elements preceding it over time. And once trust has been breeched it is difficult and sometimes impossible to establish once again.

Three steps pave the path before enduring trust begins. The first step is effective communications. When we communicate effectively with another person we have an opportunity to move that relationship to the second step, which is real understanding. That is when two people have communicated to the point of honest and deep understanding. This can lead to the third step in the relationship of mutual respect. A respecting relationship demands that each person contribute enough respect that it can be reciprocated back from the other person. Unilateral respect in relationships is temporary and superficial. Mutual respect that can lead to trust is much deeper and must come from communicated understanding. Once a relationship has experienced mutual respect it is possible for the participants to experience enduring relational trust. This is a feeling that binds people together over time and through trials.

The four steps are dependent upon the actions or integrity of the individuals involved. Integrity is not only keeping agreements, but it is also “walking the talk.” If, for example, a person communicates deceitfully, how much understanding will there be? And how much respect will the other person have? Ultimately trust will be lacking.

Enduring trust is a leadership training process that takes time and effort. It is clearly the essence of what fuels meaningful relationships.

Test your Trust

Answer the following five statements on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is not true and 5 is completely true.

My actions each day demonstrate that I trust my employees.
My employees can trust me with sensitive or private information.
I would never betray a trust with an employee.
I keep confidences and would never share confidential information inappropriately.
I am able to trust my employees.

Tally your scores from the five items. A total score of 20 to 25 would indicate that you and your employees probably share an atmosphere of trust. A score of 15-19 would indicate that trust is present, but not in abundance. A score of 14 or less probably means that some additional leadership training efforts in building trust would be appropriate.

To learn how leadership training programs and building trust in the workplace can help your organization, contact a CMOE representative at (801)569-3444

Dr. Richard L. Williams has conducted more than 6,000 workshops to more than 250,000 managers and executives.

He specializes in building trust in the workplace, leadership training and development, performance coaching, and quality improvement.

Article Author: Dr. Richard L. Williams

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