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Small Talk Savvy… Are you?

August 31, 2009

     How do you reveal your character in business without getting too personal?  What do you talk about if you are not talking about business? 

Small talk. 

Small Talk     It is said that every great romance and big business deal begins with small talk.

     In business small talk is a skill that should be mastered.  It serves a very important purpose.  Mainly it is a nice, safe method for opening channels of communication.  It’s a means for feeling our way around social or conversational norms and overcoming our inbred distrust of anyone outside of our tribe.  Small talk says “I’m non-threatening and I can be a lot of fun.” When we discover what we have in common, we’re much better prepared to discuss those deeper and in some cases, more important topics or issues.

     There are many trivial topics that are guaranteed to get people talking in non-threatening ways (also known as icebreakers). Always have one up your sleeve. If you’re stuck, simply watch a pro at work or register for the “Art of Working a Room” Workshop.

     Small talk is not only important; it’s also something of an art. A good networking conversationalist has a few topics prepared.  They’ve been to the theater, or at the least, have read the theater reviews and knows who won the Tony awards. They’ve seen a few newly released movies, attended some concerts, travelled, read, watched 60 Minutes, and can intelligently comment on anything topical.  If all else fails there is always the weather!

     Light and lively topics are fun! Having a funny story that won’t offend anyone is one of the best things you can bring. Being confident and knowing the value of small talk will enrich your life and your network.

Four Small Talk Do’s

  1. Ask good questions and then (importantly) listen
  2. Identify a bond or commonality you share with the other person or persons
  3. Give a sincere compliment
  4. Know a little about a lot of things 

Four Small Talk Don’ts

  1. Don’t be a Braggart
  2. Don’t be a rumor monger
  3. Don’t be a One-Upper
  4. Don’t be a Pick-Your-Brainer

If you want more information on any of our do’s or don’ts email us at info@4etiquetteResponses to this blog by commenting or subscription are eligible to win a Protocol Polished Professional Gift.  Something you really want too!

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