And interestingly, the people who are really good at it do very little talking. Let me explain.
Roxanne Roberts, social columnist for the "Washington Post", recently wrote about what a valuable skill small talk really is--and she should know, because her job depends on it.
Her number one rule: keep quiet and listen. And by listening, she means really paying attention, facing your partner directly, looking them in the eye, and leaning into the conversation. It's something that will encourage even the most shy person to start sharing.
Roberts says it's important in any social situation to introduce yourself, even if the person might know you. Say something like, "Hi, I'm John. I'm not sure we've met before. I'm a friend of Jane's from the university." It will set people at ease if they remember you, for example, but can't quite recall your name.
Next, keep the topics simple. Successful chit-chat involves asking questions, then really listening, and responding with open-ended questions. "You're going to London! How exciting. I love the shops. Do you have a favorite?"
Resist babbling on about your own experiences. That only brings the conversation back to you. Your goal is to get the other person to open up. Also, don't be greedy. Let the person you're talking with dictate the length of the conversation. By doing so, you'll be greeted warmly by the person the next time you see him, because he'll see you as a pleasant conversationalist not a windbag.
Roberts tells a famous story about two men, and the power of good conversation. Legend has it, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and his political rival William Gladstone had a date with the same woman on different nights. When asked her impression of the two men, she said, "When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England."
Keep that in mind, the next time you're making the rounds at a party.
Follow In The Steps of Truly Happy People. All people who are happy – truly happy – have something in common. According to renowned… Here's How To Deal With Impossible People Some people are just a handful to deal with. Cranky co-workers, rude salespeople, nosey neighbors. W… Don't Let Little Things Make You Crazy Wanting what’s best can bring out the worst in you! From breakfast cereal to online dating, we… Getting angry isn't always bad. That's the word from Dr. Robert Nay, author of the book "Taking Charge of Anger." He says if handled… Here's How to Handle Two Awkward Situations So, you’re out grocery shopping and you run into your old boss, the one who FIRED you. Awkward… You Can Handle Everyday Emergencies With a Level Head Here’s the scenario: Your manager calls you into her office Monday morning to have a “ta… Tips to Politely Stop Rude Cell Phone Users PDAs are everywhere! I’m not talking about public displays of affection. I’m talking abo… If You Want to Live Longer - Watch Less TV That’s the upshot of a new study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Assoc… Okay, ladies – you need to learn to say “no!” Why? Because saying "yes" too often can hurt your happiness!That’s the latest from clinical ps… Are You A Nag? Here’s a phrase that spells trouble: “How many times have I told you?” If you star… Boost Your Confidence Walk tall even if you're short, keep your head up. Look people in the eye. Speak in a clear, strong … Are You Bold? Someone who’s brave, daring, courageous, confident, and self-assured? If that’s you, con… Quit limiting your possibilities! When someone asks you what's happening, do you always say, "Nothing"? Or maybe, "Same old, same old"… Are You Addicted to Buying Beauty Products? Are you a “cosmetoholic?” You could be if you’re addicted to buying beauty product… Tricks to Motivate Yourself to Exercise Stop being tired all the time. All it takes are three 20-minute workouts! A recent University of Geo…
BASIC.Fear God Clip 01 with Francis Chan Sitting Can Make You Sick Did you know you at risk of heart disease even… Are Energy Drinks Good For You? These drinks may briefly boost your energy, but in the long run they make you tired… Avoiding Those Senior Moments! Small lifestyle changes can help keep your mind sharp into old age. Maintaining your iron levels, … Do You Eat Junk Food? The Benefits Of Drinking Green Tea Green tea contains powerful antioxidants and is good for your heart.… Health Problems & Their Common Triggers Two headache triggers are: Hot Dogs & Cheese. Find out why… How Well Do You Click With Other People? Lose Weight and Get In Shape BASIC.Fellowship Clip 03 with Francis Chan If You Lack Motivation at the Gym, Work Out Best Times to Take Over The Counter Are School GPA’s Important? Your GPA may be valued LESS than in the past because… Savings Traps to Avoid How Loud is TOO Loud? A noisy workplace can triple our chance of a a serious heart problem by causing stress and a buildup…