Small talk is actually something very big. Those who manage to start a conversation with strangers, break the ice and treat them like friends have the world at their feet. But it’s incredibly difficult.
People love giving advice. So start your small talk with a request for advice. Most people will happily open up. Then thank him for the tip and the other person will feel like a fireman who has successfully extinguished a fire. If you ask for advice, you create intimacy and intimacy makes rejection difficult.
Ask a second question. We often ask something and then wait for the other person to ask something back. Instead ask a second or a follow up question. If you had asked “Where did you grow up?” the second question could be “How has the place shaped you?”
Instead of asking a direct question “What do you do for a living?” you could ask “What’s keeping you busy these days?” Now the other person can choose what to talk about. I have generally met two kinds of people, those who like to talk about their job and go on and on about it, and those who are ashamed of their job, hate it or don’t have one. The latter are reluctant to talk about this topic.
Don’t start a conversation about things that interest you. Don’t pitch your topics. Rather be the one person who is interested in the other person’ s topics.
The supreme rule when making small talk is to enter every conversation assuming that you have something to learn. People forget what they talked about with you, but not how they felt in your presence.
Small talk is actually something big.