Small Talk Your Way into New Business Relationships
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.