When meeting new people for the first time,
you’re bound to get bogged down in small talk.
When you take charge of the conversation and turn it into something more interesting, you quickly become the saviour of the situation and leave a much better first impression.
Read on for some quick tips on how to survive small talk with anyone.
Know who you’re going to be meeting?
If so, find out a couple of details about them beforehand, then use those details to ask a question designed to get people talking.
For example, “I hear you enjoy playing golf. Tell me, what’s your favourite course to play?”
Give an Awesome Introduction
When introducing people, make sure to say the name slowly so people can hear.
Also, be sure to give some interesting fact or tidbit about the person you’re introducing, so they have something they can talk about immediately.
In social situations, most people don’t even make an effort.
The very fact you do ensures that you stand out from the crowd.
To remember a name, use it right away, and then try to use it another one or two times in the course of conversation.
Forgot it already? Be honest and just ask again.
Give Long Answers
If you’re asked a simple question that can be answered in one word, or even a yes/no sort of thing, give an answer more detailed than they asked for, just to provide them with something more to work with in case they’d like to ask follow-up questions.
Such as, “Yes, I did see that movie. We took the kids when we were on vacation in Florida.”
Ask about Them
People love talking about themselves. Ask questions designed to draw them out.
Restart the Conversation
If you hit a lull, throw out a question or conversation starter to get it going again.
Most of the time, this happens when people run out of small talk, so having some comments or questions prepared will get things turned around, with the awkward pause quickly forgotten.
Know-How to Get Out
Still, trapped? Have an escape plan in place.
Start with “I need…” statements such as “Excuse me, I need to use the restroom” or “I need to talk to the host.” Be sure to thank the person for the conversation, adding to the thanks something about the conversation itself such as, “I really enjoyed talking about the stock market with you” before you go.
This leaves a favourable impression and proves you were listening.