• Sameen Fatima

Does small talk actually “suck”?

What is “small talk”?

What do we mean by “small talk”? It is any conversation that avoids getting into any deep or complicated subjects. It is referred to as “small” because nothing of real significance is talked about. An example of small talk could be someone making a comment that the speaker at an event is doing a great job, or a comment about something that happened in the world that was in the news.

Why is small talk important?

Small talk is important for a number of good reasons. It can be a way to fill up silences. It can also be a way to make one or both people feel more comfortable. If two people already know each other, small talk can be a way to get a sense of the other person’s mood, or to make their own mood felt.

Why do some people dislike small talk?

It is seen as “boring”. It can prevent the conversation from getting onto bigger and more meaningful topics. You don’t really get to know a person from making small talk alone. For introverts, small talk can be a drain on their energy which they would prefer to use for having discussions about bigger things. Also, if all your conversations in life only consist of small talk, this can be a negative thing.

Is small talk actually necessary?

The short answer to this is yes. Small talk can be important in a number of scenarios that you are likely to find yourself in throughout your life! For example, it can be an important skill to have for work. What if you get asked to come to a team lunch and have to sit next to the boss? Even more daunting, what if you have to make small talk to a client that you do not know? With good ability to make small talk the whole experience will be bearable, maybe even pleasant.

Good things that come from making small talk...

It can make you happier. Sharing a joke or banter with someone can make you feel lighter. You might feel good about yourself for making the effort. It makes you live in the present moment. It could also lead to a whole range of other outcomes, most likely good ones. Studies have also found that friendly, social interaction can boost our ability to solve problems. It can also make you more liked by the other people, which may be connected to people appreciating your making the effort.

How to do it if you feel daunted?

Making small talk is a skill that gets better with practice. It can start off simply, for example greeting your co-workers in a friendly manner, and asking them how they are. Or responding to a cashier who might be trying to start a conversation by asking them a question back. It sounds cliched, but it truly gets easier each time you do it.

How can I find out how to get better at it?

Try one of the other Deeper Events posts on making conversation.

Toastmasters International has some great ideas on how to improve your technique. Try one of the Deeper Events social events to practice your small talk skills, hopefully leading to some deeper and more substantial conversations!

Author: Ayesha Hamid

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