Master the Art of Small Talk With This Simple Guide

by | 2 minute read

For some, mak­ing small talk is not easy. If chat­ting up strangers doesn't come nat­u­ral­ly, don't be wor­ried: It's a skill that you can mas­ter. Hub­Spot writer Aja Frost recent­ly treat­ed read­ers to a sim­ple crash course on the art of mak­ing small talk, and it's all much eas­i­er than you might think. Small talk is also more impor­tant than you might think. "Like it or not, small talk is inte­gral to your suc­cess," Frost points out. "Whether you're net­work­ing, speak­ing with a new prospect, or warm­ing up a cus­tomer before upselling them or ask­ing for a refer­ral, you must be able to build rap­port with casu­al con­ver­sa­tion."

She goes on to share four strate­gies you can employ when faced with the task of small talk. Below are three:

Ask open-end­ed ques­tions. This invites the oth­er per­son to talk about him- or her­self, which is some­thing that every­one enjoys doing. Also, it takes the pres­sure off of you to chit chat. Anoth­er ben­e­fit of this strat­e­gy? You have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn from the per­son, who may turn out to have some valu­able insights.

Put away your phone. When feel­ing uncom­fort­able, peo­ple tend to reach for their phones. This is a mis­take when try­ing to net­work because, as Frost explains, "noth­ing will sab­o­tage your con­ver­sa­tion­al efforts more quick­ly. Few peo­ple will approach you if you're scrolling through your phone — and you'll send a plain mes­sage to any­one you're already talk­ing to that you're not inter­est­ed."

Be enthu­si­as­tic! You don't have to go crazy with ges­tures or speak ani­mat­ed­ly, but some enthu­si­asm in the con­ver­sa­tion can make it more enjoy­able for every­one. Mak­ing small talk will seem less like a chore if you com­mit ful­ly. Remem­ber, there's always the chance that the dis­cus­sion will be amaz­ing.

Check out the rest of Frost's arti­cle to get even more tips, like which con­ver­sa­tion starters are best for prospects and what top­ics best break the ice. The more com­fort­able you get with mak­ing small talk, the eas­i­er these con­ver­sa­tions will become-and the more val­ue you'll get from them.

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jes­si­ca is a senior research ana­lyst for Sales­Fu­el focus­ing on sell­ing to SMB deci­sion mak­ers. She also reports on sales and pre­sen­ta­tion tips for Sales­Fu­el and Media Sales Today. Jes­si­ca is a grad­u­ate of Ohio Uni­ver­si­ty.