How to turn small talk into a big conversation



“Hey, how are you?”
“Good, and you”
“Good”
“OK, see you”
“OK, bye”

Awkward. That’s the best way to describe small talks that you have to deal with every day. Why do we do it? Why not just say hello, smile and continue on our way?

Living on campus, I have these type of conversations a gazillion times a day. The worst thing is that I will probably have the same conversation with the same person the next day. What if I am not “good”? Should I say it, or that would make the situation even more awkward?

I guess people who “small talk” are not really looking forward to have a real conversation. It would be interesting if we would try to use different words with each person that we would encounter. If we actually care about the person that we have in front of us we can turn a small talk into a conversation.

Let me tell you why I think this is an awkward situation.

It is very likely that the people who you have these conversations with are not really your friends. Maybe you would like them to be your friends, but you just don’t know how to get from “Hey, how are you?” to “The most amazing thing happened to me today!”  Small talk is probably  a good way to start, but you really need to step up your game and have something ready to say when you see that person.

The funny part of small talk is when we answer the wrong question because you are on the go. You expect them to greet you in a certain way and they say something else.

“Hey, what’s up?”
“Good, and you?”
“Um…good”

or

“Bye, see you later”
“Bye, thank you!”

Again, it’s awkward. But, don’t worry. As we once saw in the movie Hitch, small talk can be improved.

1. Be prepared and Listen
Think about the environment that you are going to be into. If it is at school, remember the names of your peers. If it is a social event, research the purpose of the event and who is organizing it. Listening is a very important part of every conversation. If you listen you will have more to say!

2. Be positive
Show a big smile and give the impression of being in a good mood. It’s very common for people to say “I am tired” when they don’t know what to say. Avoid this! Smiles change the course of actions!

3. Complement
Don’t lie, but if you see something nice on the other person say it. It’s always a good starter.

4. Keep it real
Talk about something that is going on in your life right now. Without taking it to a personal level, share what’s going on in your mind.

5. Know when to leave
The whole point is to generate a conversation, but knowing what to say is as important as knowing when to leave. Forced conversations are usually not a good idea. Relax and have fun, you will know when it’s time!

By implementing all these you will be able to turn a small talk into a big conversation!

Do you have a line to start small talk? Do you think is awkward to see the same people every day and say the exact same words?

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2 thoughts on “How to turn small talk into a big conversation

  1. Nice post! I know what you mean by saying that you have this same conversation multiple times during the day. I think part of it is because we’re so busy — often we only see people in passing, when we don’t have time to stop and have a good conversation. This post serves as a reminder to slow down and focus on the people around us!

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