Sell Smarter 04: Smarter Small Talk

BY Courtney Huckabay
Featured image for “Sell Smarter 04: Smarter Small Talk”

In this episode of the Sell Smarter podcast we discuss strategies for making small talk and ways to break the ice.


Hello there, I’m Doug LESSELLS.  WELCOME to the NEW Sell Smarter podcast from SalesFuel!  We’re taking your sales to the NEXT LEVEL every month with our top tips and WINNING STRATEGIES so you can re-​energize and ENGAGE in just three short minutes.

[SEGMENT 1: Make Small Talk]

For some, making SMALL talk is NOT EASY. If it doesn’t come naturally, HubSpot writer Asia Frost says it’s all much easier than you THINK. She shares strategies to use when faced with the task of small talk.

  • Ask OPEN-​ENDED questions.
    This invites the other person to talk about HIM- OR HERSELF. This takes the pressure off of YOU to chit-​chat AND you can 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. Frost explains, “NOTHING will sabotage your conversation efforts more quickly. Few people will approach you if you’re SCROLLING through your phone and you’re sending the message to anyone 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. The more COMFORTABLE you get with making small talk, the EASIER these conversations will become, and the more VALUE you’ll get from them.

In this age of social networking, making offline, personal connections has become even more critical. Knowing how to network in person effectively can be one of the greatest tools you have in for developing your career and forging new business relationships.”

– Arianna Campbell, Boomer Consulting, Inc.

[SEGMENT 2: Break the Ice]

Now that you know some STRATEGIES for small talk, let’s review some ways to actually BREAK THE ICE. Even the most OUTGOING rep runs out of icebreakers. In a recent Inc. article, Minda Zetlin offers some CONVERSATION STARTER ideas:

  • "Is this your FIRST TIME at this event?”
    If YOU attended the event in the past, offer pointers if the other person HASN’T. If it’s YOUR first time, you can ask for SUGGESTIONS and TIPS.
  • "I really liked that THING you said.”
    Want to get a word in with a SPEAKER? Mention something specific from her PRESENTATION.
  • "What do you RECOMMEND?”
    This could apply to a choice of SESSIONS to attend, or hors d’oeuvres to TASTE, or even a tray of COCKTAILS.
  • I’ve been wanting to MEET you.”
    Why not get to the point IMMEDIATELY? Introduce yourself and tell him WHY you’ve been eager to speak to him.

These are just a few tips to prepare yourself to break the ice at your next event.

That’s it for THIS edition of the Sell Smarter podcast. Remember, you can always get MORE great insights every day at SalesFuel​.com and in the SalesFuel MOBILE app.