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Do you sweat the small talk?

Do you sweat the small talk?

Do you sweat the small talk?
August 18
23:47 2017


Small talk can feel like it sounds — small and insignificant however learning how to master the art of starting a conversation is a crucial skill in your career. People naturally think of small talk as talking about the weather which can seem trivial and a waste of time.

People who struggle with small talk often dismiss it as a meaningless conversation, but what happens is the just the opposite — small talk opens the road to a greater connection. Employers look for people who can put others at ease and it starts with small talk; people hire people they feel comfortable around.

One of the reasons why people often put off attending networking meetings or joining professional groups often relates to a lack of comfort in meeting new people.  Alibiing and going with the flow works for some but not everyone feels comfortable in just showing up especially when you are looking to transition your career.

The art of small talking begins with the intention of making people around you feel comfortable and topics like the weather, good restaurants or how fast time flies are all ways in which you can easily connect with other person.

If the idea of small talk makes you break out in a cold sweat try practicing it on a daily basis with people you know as well as those whom you ride the elevator with every day.

Small talk plays a huge role in your overall career development and is directly attached to your job search such as taking the awkwardness out of an interview or a networking meeting. The ability to communicate and build rapport leads to developing the likability factor that often influences decision makers.

Take for example, a compliment that led to a good conversation.  While at the gas station, two people were refueling their cars when a positive comment about the other’s one car was made that in turn led to a discussion about the good gas mileage.  By the time both had their tanks full, they exchanged information on where he purchased the car and who to ask for.   That was a great example of how a simple compliment turned small talk into action.

Know when to stop

Knowing when to stop small talking and take it to the next level is a practiced skill.  Don’t over rely on it rather watch for cues to stop,  too much small talk sends a perception you lack depth and the conversation will fizzle.

Not every topic is suited for small talk and it helps to know what you should avoid, especially in situations where your ability to make people feel at ease is crucial. During an interview for example, avoid topics such as politics and subjects you feel passionate about.  Others may not share your same enthusiasm and you run the risk of leaving a negative perception.

How has small talk lead you to career opportunities?

 

 

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