9. Be mindful
Be aware of the present moment and observe what is going on around you. Practicing mindfulness can immediately turn a boring, casual chat into a deep, stimulating conversation. It’s better to open your eyes and ears, before you choose to open your mouth, says CEO Gary Burnison. He explains “Find something to focus on in your surroundings… There’s bound to be something that will spark small talk and help lead the conversation into unique follow-up questions.”
Here some other quick tips from author and CEO Patti Johnson to add some pizzazz to your conversation and make small talk meaningful:
- Be intentional about who you want to talk to. Don’t just stumble onto people and start talking. Decide who you want to talk with and seek people who are open to make new connections.
- Make sure to have fun. Consider this as a game and take the challenge to meet some new people. It will get easier and more enjoyable this way.
- Instead of waiting for others to approach you and make sure to initiate conversation. Take charge and meet the people you find interesting.
- Do not shadow only one person during the entire event. Branch out and meet as many people as you want to.
- Have a go-to story or question ready as trying to make small talk meaningful with someone new can be difficult.
- Carefully plan how you can exit the conversation gracefully as it will eventually become tedious.
- Don’t get your hopes too high about making new friends. Keep your expectations in check and just enjoy the moment.
From small talk to deep conversations
Small talk is important despite how painful it may be. When you know how to make small talk meaningful, it can lead to lasting connections and excellent opportunities. Author Melissa Wadsworth believes “Small talk is about tapping into possibilities. Approach the conversation excited about the friendship, the good laugh, the fascinating story, the job lead, the date, the joy or the sense-of-belonging potential inherent in this shared experience. It’s the first step to any meaningful relationship.”
So have faith in yourself, don’t get intimidated and just be present in the moment. Soon you will master the art of small talk and excel at making deep, meaningful conversation that will lead to lasting relationships.