How to Make Small Talk: A Comprehensive Guide
Many people would say that they hate small talk and prefer meaningful conversations. However, when you meet a person for the first time, you can’t have a solid conversation with them simply because you don’t know each other and there are certain barriers between you. Small talk is like testing the waters and at the same time establishing a connection with a stranger. Read on to learn more about how to master small talk and initiate conversations easily.
What is small talk
Conventionally, small talk is a light conversation between two strangers about superficial things, chit-chat, in other words. But in a more global sense, you can define small talk as a conversation starter. This is not some meaningless words you utter just to fill an awkward silence. This is the way to form bonds with people, quickly get to know them.
People engage in small talk every day. Irrespective of whether you’re dealing with a new business partner or going to approach that beautiful girl sitting on the bench, you need to build a certain relationship with that person before you come up with a business or romantic offer. It’s like a boxing match. You don’t hit your opponent right away. When you start, it’s more like a dance, you’re only assessing your rival before you start knocking them. The same is about conversing with people. Your very first conversation with a new person is like that boxing dance. You’re not going to touch upon some personal matters because this is not appropriate. A meaningful conversation can be your third chat – by that time you already get to know your interlocutor quite well, so you can talk about important matters.
General small talk tips
Basically, small talk is a conversation starter. It’s your opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills and make a good impression on a woman. How to be good at small talk? You need to be aware of things that ignite the interest in women, and things that bore them.
What you should avoid making small talk:
Awkwardness. If you initiate a conversation with a woman but don’t know how to keep the ball rolling, you radiate anxiety and nervousness, even if you think it’s not visible. Women can feel your inner state, and when an awkward silence sets in, it repels them very much.
Interrogation. One of the worst small talk examples is when a man turns it into an interview. A lot of men make this mistake. They bombard a woman with questions about her family, job, hobbies, etc. She is so overwhelmed by that flood of questions that she doesn’t even want to answer them. And if she notices that the man is not listening to her answers, it’s an absolute turn-off.
Pauses. Well, short moments of silence are possible in small talk. That’s when you look away to spot something interesting and comment on that or just to come up with another topic. But if a pause lasts so long that you can hear the birds sing, it’s a sign your small talk is not going well. Women feel your tension and get uncomfortable too. This is not that feeling that your conversation should evoke in them.
Sensitive questions. Small talk is supposed to be light and superficial. Some friendly banter is a perfect way to make small talk sexy. It’s totally tactless to ask a stranger too personal questions. This will only cause embarrassment and give your conversation the wrong flavor. There are some dangerous topics that should be avoided during initial conversations with women. Those are the topics of religion and politics.
What women like in small talk:
Interesting topics. There are a lot of matters to touch upon in small talk with a woman. Your task is to pick the right ones that will ignite the spark of interest in your interlocutress. You can start your small talk from a certain observation concerning her style or a comment on what’s going on around you.
Emotions. It’s been said many times that women live on emotions. The success of your communication with women depends on what kind of emotions you evoke in them. That’s why you should ask her about pleasant experiences, such as childhood memories, traveling, favorite places, food, music. Recalling them, she’ll get in a good emotional state which she will associate with you.
Real time. Small talk is meant for establishing an emotional bond. The best way for two people to bond with one another is to be in the moment. For this, you should develop your small talk in real time. Give comments on the surroundings, compliment a woman on her clothes or accessories, talk about things that are going on around you.
Confident speech. Even if a woman is not initially in the mood for small talk, she can change her mind once she’s realized she is dealing with a confident and eloquent man. Men are generally viewed as initiators and leaders of conversations, so you should keep it in mind. She expects you to keep the conversation going, and if she sees that you manage to do it successfully, she’ll enjoy talking to you.
An interesting story. If you have some anecdote that the current situation reminded you about, start telling it your interlocutress. This is how you’ll grab her attention and make her give feedback, consequently involving her in a dialog.
Humor. A good sense of humor is probably one of the most important assets of any person, especially men. Women don’t like melancholic guys who are gloomy and constantly complaining. On the contrary, they are irresistibly attracted to those men who can make them smile. That’s why you should employ your sense of humor making small talk. If you manage to make a woman laugh, she’ll want to continue your conversation.
Remember that your success depends not only on your ability to make small talk but also on your appearance and behavior. Here are some small talk tips on how to make your appearance play on your side.
Dress smartly. Clothes make the man as much as his ability to make conversations. That’s why before you address a woman, make sure you look sharp. Women pay attention to men’s accessories, so a good pair of shoes, an interesting ring, or a nice watch will not only add masculinity to your image but might serve as an inspiration for her questions or compliments. Speak the right body language. Your non-verbal signals are even more informative than your words. That’s why watch your non-verbal behavior. Rule number one is to smile softly and genuinely, especially when making eye contact. Pay attention to your posture – you should sit or stand in open positions to show that you’re exposed to communication. Lean forward to demonstrate your interest in your interlocutor and establish some intimacy. Nod and mumble things like “uh-huh” to show that you’re a careful listener. Maintain eye contact. If a man isn’t afraid to look women in the eyes, it means he is confident and open. Establish an eye contact with your interlocutress – your eyes can be very eloquent. Don’t stare – just look at her when talking or listening. Don’t forget to smile with your eyes.
Small talk topics
People who know one another for a while can touch upon different topics without coming across as too straightforward or bold. However, two people who have just met or are on their first date should stick to certain safe topics that will let them get to know each other but, at the same time, keep their conversation light and flirty, without information overload. To be good at small talk, you need to have several “on duty” topics in your head in order to always know what to say to a woman. What are the best small talk topics? Here are some small talk ideas for you.
It’s always interesting to know what kind of person your girlfriend was as a child or to hear some interesting childhood stories. An excuse for initiating such a conversation can be a mother with a child passing you by. Each person has at least one memorable event from their childhood. Recalling that experience will bring out positive emotions, and this will favorably affect the ongoing talk. So, share your childhood experiences and ask your girlfriend to share hers.
Another safe topic to bring up during small talk. You read news on social media every day. It’s time to demonstrate how you keep up with the latest events. Mention something that is going on in your city or somewhere in the world. However, you should mention only good news in order not to spoil the atmosphere of your conversation. Touch upon arts, music, technology (that will be interesting for her), weather – these are perfect topics for small talk.
While not all people feel enthusiastic about telling others about their jobs, all of us can talk non-stop about the things we are passionate about. So, bringing up the topic of hobbies and favorite pastimes is a must. It will help you get to know each other better and emotionally refresh you and your interlocutor.
It’s always exciting to talk about travel experiences. Mention one of your trips and ask your interlocutress about her travel experiences. Even if she has never been abroad, there are certain countries she would like to visit. Elicit that information to keep the ball rolling.
This topic has a similar effect to childhood stories. The place where a person’s early years passed is associated with a lot of pleasant memories. Talk about where each of you was born and then shift to childhood memories. To know how to develop an initial conversation, you should learn the art of small talk. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, but it requires regular practice and some basic skills. The structure of small talk is quite easy: make an observation, give additional information, and ask a question. If you get an answer, you’re on the right track – keep building your dialog.
Small talk questions
As a man, you’re expected to take the lead in small talk. It means that you should come up with questions and introduce new topics. The effective questions are those that require extended answers. Formulate your questions so that they can’t be answered “yes” or “no”. It means questions starting in “What”, “When”, and “How” should be your best friends. Here are some examples of small talk questions.
- Do you like your job? How did you get into it?
- Are you close with your siblings?
- Why did you leave your hometown?
- What is your favorite country?
- Did you hear about this new gadget equipped with iris recognition?
- Did you hear about the new restaurant that is about to open?
- What was it like to …?
- What is something you want to accomplish this year?
- What are you really passionate about? How does it make you feel?
- How did you find out about …?
- What surprised you most?
- What was the best part of …?
Now that you’ve learned the basics of how to small talk, go and practice it on girls.