Improve Your Small Talk - Gain Big Dividends!

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Do you hate to make small talk? If so, you have lots of company.

You may find small talk irritating, predictable, mind-numbingly boring.

Yet, learning to play the small talk game can have lots of good benefits. You will have a much better chance of succeeding in making new friends, and advancing in your career if you can master the major art of making small talk.

Small talk is the name commonly given to the fairly predictable superficial chatter that makes up a large portion of our social encounters. Neighbors chatting over the fence, strangers speaking to each other in a grocery line, or workers talking at an office party will often engage in the exchange of fairly ritual, routine observations, comments and questions. Often there is no intent by either party to take the conversation to a deeper level.

Most of the comments and questions tend to be of a fairly trivial sort. For example, a person might say, "I wonder when this heat wave will ever end," or "That's a nice dress, where did you get it?" Other typical small talk dialogue might include basic questions like, "What do you do?" Or "How long have you lived in this neighborhood"?

Small talk often has a bad name. Many people dislike small talk, precisely because it is so mundane and trivial and predictable. It rarely touches on anything important. It does not lead you deeply into the soul of another. It is conservative and safe. You do not discuss really serious issues like world hunger, or the meaning of life, or the results of a recent scientific breakthrough.

People who are very intellectual or very shy, and those who are socially rebellious, are often unable or unwilling to engage in this sort of chatter, which they consider meaningless and trite. They long instead to have only intense, meaningful, and soulful exchanges about important matters.

If this is true of you, if you have had nothing but contempt for the very existence of small talk, if you look down with disdain on all who engage in it, it is time to consider revising your opinion. Small talk, however despicable, however clich?, has an important role to play in initiating, developing, and deepening social connections with other human beings.

Think of small talk as the oil that lubricates the wheels of social interaction. If you see a person regularly, you can use small talk as a way to gradually learn more about each other. Small talk gives people a low-key, non-threatening way to exchange very basic bits of information with each other. Through these very tiny, safe, and clich? exchanges that each person offers the other, you can find out what interests you have in common, and whether or not you like the character of the other person.

A complete inability or refusal to engage in small talk can severely limit the overall number of social relationships you develop. Refusing to engage in some form of small talk will send out the signal that you are not a friendly person, or that you think you are too good to talk with others.

On the other hand, the more often you engage in small talk encounters with others, the more likely it is that you will find people who want to move on to discuss some of the topics that are of more importance to you.

Instead of refusing to play the small talk "game", why not really make a game out of it? Decide to practice small talk strictly for fun and give yourself points for starting it and keeping it going. Think of small talk as a skill you can develop, and practice working to become better at it. Do it everywhere, and do it often.

Becoming good at small talk will eventually pay off and give you even more opportunities to talk about those things that really matter to you. You can actually learn to enjoy the light hearted, low key, small talk process, and you may end up liking many of the other people you meet along the way!

This article is taken from the downloadable book by Royane Real titled "How You Can Have All the Friends You Want - Your Complete Guide to Finding Friends, Making Friends, and Keeping Friends" Check it out at

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