Small talk can be awkward, uncomfortable, and stressful — but it can also lead to meaningful conversations and relationships down the line if you know how to do it the right way. There are a number of small talk habits that can draw people to you instantly, and although it might take some practice to nail them down, you can start incorporating them into your conversations and stop worrying about discussing the weather over and over again with people you just met.
Not all small talk is created equal, so if you really want to engage someone in a conversation, you’ll want to make sure you’re paying attention to what you’re saying. Here are nine small talk habits that will make people instantly drawn to you.
1 Having A Comfortable Opener
Beginning a discussion with someone out of the blue can feel like the most awkward part, so practice how you open up conversations with others. “This will make you look and come across more confident and encourage more people to talk to you,” says communications expert Michael Blakely over email. “It also shows you are happy to start the conversation, putting people at ease and allowing you to lead.”
2 Sharing Relatable Information About Yourself
Conversations about the weather or what someone is wearing can die out quickly. “The best ways to engage people are to share some information about yourself that other people can relate to, appreciate, or learn from,” says Deena Baikowitz, co-founder of Fireball Network, a coaching and consulting firm, over email “For example, talking about where you grew up, your family, why you chose your career. Talk about the things you are most passionate about – your hobbies, volunteer work, job, family.”
3 Asking Open-Ended Questions
Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no and ask a person something that allows them to talk in-depth about their thoughts, dreams, and opinions. “By asking more of the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions, you get people talking,” says Korobov. “And the truth is that most people love talking about themselves even if they won’t admit it. Open-ended questions create the space for people to feel safe doing so and provides a vehicle for them to feel heard.”
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