Small Talk Works
As it was already mentioned, small talk shouldn’t be inane chatter about the weather, the correct time, or one-liners that are so old that when they were in school history wasn’t even a subject yet (rim shot!). Many people mistake this verbal diarrhea as small talk, and this is why the expression is so misleading, and the reason why so many people even hate the idea of small talk.
Small talk isn’t an excuse to run your mouth when you have nothing to say. Small talk is casual conversation that avoids cryptic subjects, emotionally charged stances, arguments, or anything too heavy. A relatively pressure-free endeavor. The deeper conversation that develops might certainly lead down one of those paths, but the goal of small talk is to open a door and peer in to see if there’s a nice bonanza or a pissed off Grizzly bear waiting behind it. It’s a quick way to get to know a little about a person, make a first impression, and also give you the confidence to continue. Conversely, this isn’t about creating or reaching ‘talk’ goals. You’re not interviewing for friendships. What you’re doing is living in the moment, casually conversing, learning, and hopefully enjoying yourself in the process.
Small Talk allows two people an opportunity to very quickly learn a lot about each other. Just think of how many things you can learn about a person from a brief conversation; their name, occupation, location, the kind of car they drive, the kind of food, music or films they enjoy, what they do for fun, where they go for excitement. The list is virtually endless, and if you play your cards correctly the conversation will veer in the direction you want it to go, subjects and topics of mutual interest. In return they can also get the same information from you.
In addition to this, you’re sending the message that you’re open, willing, and ready to converse. If you’re shy, this kind of small talk is an opening of the door, a green light encouraging further conversation, especially if the person you’re speaking with is shy as well. If you’re not shy, this kind of talk is exactly the sort of ammo you need to seize the moment. You now have an arsenal of topics, interests, and opinions which you can use to continue this conversation for hours. You may also find out you have nothing in common, you dislike this person immensely, or you just find them more boring than a box of oatmeal. If that’s the case, you’ve lost nothing because all you did was spend a few moments making small talk, and you’re free to flee to a more interesting corner of the room. You might also find you have nothing at all in common, but your personalities compliment each other so perfectly you can talk about anything.