Small talk. Everybody hates it, but everybody's gotta learn how to do it. It's how you meet new people, learn more about people you already know, and keep the conversation going. So, here are some rules for good small talk, from the experts at Real Simple magazine
- First, before you end up at a chit-chat fest, do your homework. Try to come up with 3 things to talk about in case the conversation runs dry. Scan the day's headlines and movie reviews if you have to. And if you know people who are invited, try to remember at least one thing about them. It'll help you get them talking.
- Begin the conversation by giving the other person something to work with. For instance, if they ask about your job, don't give a two-word answer and force them to ask more questions. Give details. Say, "I'm a teacher, and a soccer coach. And the kids and I just got back from a weekend camping trip." That gives them tons of places to take the conversation.
- Learn to listen. That's because people love to talk about themselves. So, start asking questions. Ask about a piece of jewelry,what they do for fun. Or you can ask if they're seen a certain movie, or what their favorite restaurant is in the area.
- Don't panic if there's a lull in the conversation. Silences are shorter than you think. And they might be thinking about something you just said. Or it might be time to change the subject--So, throw something out there, and don't worry about being subtle. But if you sense they're dying to get away, give them the opportunity--And go talk to somebody else.
- Finally, learn how to get away gracefully. So, use the phrase "I need." Like, "I need to get some food I haven't eaten all day." And mention something from the conversation, so they don't think you're leaving because you're bored. Say something like, "I enjoyed talking to you about your river rafting trip. I'd love to hear more about it later."