Amazing isn’t it that some people can enter a roomful of strangers and strike up a conversation with practically anyone. Have you wondered how they are able to be so confident and open? It’s a skill you can learn. Even if you are shy, you can communicate confidently if you follow these ten steps.
Ten Steps to Mastering Small Talk:
Step 1: Before any event, identify specific interests and experiences that you are willing to discuss
Step 2: Search for individuals amongst the group who seem receptive
Step 3: Establish eye contact and smile, this helps you make contact by sending nonverbal signals
Step 4: Be the first to introduce yourself and ask an easy, open-ended question
Step 5: Listen carefully for the other person’s name and use it in the conversation
Step 6: Listen carefully for facts, feelings, key words, so you can use them in the ensuing conversation. Listen between the lines or be able to understand the unsaid, it will help you know ‘what not to say’
Step 7: Reveal something about yourself, your background, interests, and experiences etc
Step 8: Be genuinely interested about the other person, but without being curious. Explore the other person’s interests by encouraging him or her to talk
Step 9: Highlight mutual interests
Step 10: Restate something you found interesting in the conversation and end with an invitation to meet again
You may be reluctant to talk to strangers but once you make this exercise part of your mental preparation for socialising, you will never be at a loss for words when the opportunity arises. In addition, you will discover many other people who share your interests and are willing to talk about what they enjoy. When you first meet a person, avoid unpleasant, overly personal, or highly controversial issues because they can quickly degenerate into depressing conversations or arguments.
Topics and questions you must avoid asking or discussing are:
- Personal, health, money, or family problems
- Divorce or death
- Terrorism, war, pestilence, and famine
- Emotionally charged issues such as welfare, or capital punishment
- Sex, politics, and religion
Everyone agrees that the first few minutes of contact are important, but so are the last moments of a conversation. Start by saying a few words about an interesting topic that the other person mentioned or discussed. Say that you enjoyed listening and that you agree with them. Make eye contact, smile, shake hands, and use his or her name or greet them as you feel appropriate. Finally, if you are so inclined, suggest that the two of you talk again soon. Offer your telephone number. Then ask the other person how you might reach him or her.
Greetings, Introductions & Goodbyes:
What is the first thing that you do when you see someone? Greet them, of course!
What if the person whom you meet does not know you? Introduce yourself.
Did you know that depending on whether it is a Formal or an Informal situation, our choice of words, tone, and body language change?
Well! Now, let us have a quick look at different Greetings, Introductions and Goodbyes!
- Hello, …/ Hi, …
- Good morning/ afternoon/ evening.
- Good/ nice to see you again.
- I am glad/ happy/ pleased to see you.
- Introducing yourself:
- Can / May I introduce myself? My name is Peter.
- Let me introduce myself. My name is …. / I am.…
- I would like to introduce myself. I am ….
- I do not think we have met. I am ….
- Introducing someone else:
- Can/ May I introduce a good friend of mine? This is ….
- Have you met …?
- I would like you to meet ….
- I want you to meet ….
- Making contact:
- Excuse me, are you Mrs. …? – Yes, that is right.
- Hello, you must be Mrs. …
- You are Mr. …, aren’t you?
- Have we met?
- Good bye/ Bye/ See you later/ See you soon.
- I must go now.
- It is getting (rather) late.
- I will miss my train.
- I have got some things to prepare for ….
- I have enjoyed talking to you.
- It has been a very useful meeting/ nice afternoon.
- Thanks for everything.
- Thank you for (all) your help.
- Thank you for coming.
- I look forward to our next meeting.
- I look forward to seeing you again.
Remember most people are nervous, many practice to overcome their anxiety and soon get better at meeting and mingle with strangers. Using the conversation cues, you will soon be that person who walks into a room confidently and un self-consciously meets and greets people! You can do it!