Life Coach Linda

I’m Just Not Good at Small Talk

Posted on: January 14, 2013

embarrassed chimp

I can give speeches, lead workshops and have heartfelt conversations with clients and friends, but when it comes to small talk, I can be pretty lame.

I haven’t quite figured it out, but sometimes I say weird things that may not make sense to the other person.  My attempts at being funny often result in people looking at me quizzically, and then there are those awkward pauses when we both know the conversation is going nowhere, but aren’t sure how to get out of it.

Am I alone in this?

I don’t like uncomfortable, weird moments so I created a plan.   Here is what I am going to do:

  • Give the conversation 100% of my attention
  • Connect with the person by looking them in the eyes
  • Pause before responding to what they say
  • Ask questions that make them the focus of the conversation

Sure hope this works……..   Anyone want to join me in trying it out?


15 Responses to "I’m Just Not Good at Small Talk"

Have you read How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds? It gives good pointers along the lines of what you’ve already suggested. I’m the same way and, having moved to a new place, need to get more comfortable with this! Keep us updated!

I definitely need help in this area-lol!

I’d rather present or train as well. Asking “What” questions is usually a good idea when networking

Also add – Focus on what they are saying rather than focusing on your response has helped me along the way. It’s easy to have a disjointed conversation if you really aren’t listening 🙂 I like your plan! Chat on 🙂

One of my favorite topics for small talk is food, everybody eats and there is much common ground there. Start a conversation about how good/bad the food is where you are or how much you really want a cheeseburger at that moment. Conversation lull ended.

This made me smile. I was at my hairdresser’s this morning and, after the usual questions about Christmas and holidays and plans for the rest of my day, we sat in abject silence for the rest of the time. Fortunately, I was only in for a trim! I love your plan. Definitely going to try this.

Still needs to be a two way street.

I have often had this problem when chatting up people to share my opportunity (either to host a party, join my team, or order product) So I started using the gifting up front method, giving them something cool, then I don’t feel like a pesky sales lady – not the same scenario but it helped me a lot!

Great post and something to think about!

Great post and soooo true. Your four point plan is great. We can all learn from that.

Good points. I think everyone experiences those kinds of things at times, especially in the context of new situations and with unfamiliar people.

Your ideas are good ones.

A couple of additional ideas would be to research the setting or organization and find out if there are current interest items that might be discussion worthy. Another thought is to get familiar with any human interest, slightly obscure current event and read up on the details, so you have something intriguing to bring up in a lull.

Thanks for the topic.

Great advice! The most important thing I believe is to stay engaged with people and that requires conversation. I think you nailed it on the head especially giving them 100% attention. When you are with an individual, give them 100% of yourself! Great post!

I love this post. I read an article about how small talk kills brain cells, the idea is that we are not being mindful, not listening or fully engaging with others. The older I get, the less time and mental space I have for small talk. Love your tips!!

Thanks for the tips. Ultimately it feels like it is about intention and focus. I also noticed that it seems worse when I drink caffeine….

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