Small talk has to be one of the most difficult things to do, especially when you’re first starting to talk to each other, whether it is face to face, or over texting/messaging apps, but there are ways you’re able to speak about it without being awkward but to be able to enjoy it at the same time.
1. When someone asks how are you, be honest, but don’t be too open about it
It can be difficult when you’ve not known each other for long, however, if you say that you’re okay, it’s been a tough week because you’ve been busy with work/school/exams and it’s nice to have some time away from work/school or exams. That way you’re able to have more of a conversation and if that person wants to keep the conversation going, they will know the right questions to answer.
2. Add a little more info when it comes to answering simple questions
So for example, what have you been up to, you might have a list of places, but instead as an example you could say “I have been swimming a lot recently *insert your local leisure centre* and improving my times with every time. Do you have any hobbies you like to do?” That way you’re able to keep the conversation going, you get to know each other a little more and you can have more to talk about, rather than the normal hey how are you, what have you been up to and then the conversation ending.
3. Make the other person feel comfortable
This is extremely important because to be able to get them to talk more, they need to see that you’re actually interested in what they have to say and that you want to listen to them rather than just passing the time, so when it comes to getting a response from them, but when it comes to small talk it can just be snippets of a story, but if you ask more about the conversation then you will get more of a conversation.
So if they start talking about something about a story for example their first holiday, or their greatest achievement, ask for a little bit more, like if it was their first holiday, did they like it there, did they make new friends, do they ever want to go back. Or if it was their greatest achievement ask them about how they prepared or how they got ready for the competition, or how they felt when they got their medal, all these questions aren’t invasive because they will have bought the story up, but it shows you’re interested too.
4. Don’t forget to show signs that you’re actually listening
I know that probably sounds so simple and you naturally do it anyway, however, making those sounds like “mhm” or “uhuh” or “yep” or nodding if you’re face to face, these are all signs that you’re listening and you’re interested in what they have to say, that way they’re comfortable speaking to you and will open up more.
5. Build on the awkward silence
When you’re having one of those moments and there is barely any conversation, turn the questions that they have asked you around, get them to respond to the questions they asked. Most of the time there is a reason that person has chosen the question, maybe to see the way you react or the way to see the kind of person you are, but try to be gentle with your response, you don’t want to bite their head off too soon, or get into a heated argument, remember pace yourself.
6. Look at the way you leave
There are lots of ways you can end a conversation, for example I have to go because I have a family commitment, however I would love to catch up again soon, that way you’re showing you want to keep things going and that you want to catch up soon. That’s a lot better than I’ve got to go, bye!
- Don’t do the hey, how are you, what have you been up to and then that is basically the way to kill a conversation straight away.
- Don’t try to brush off the story, I know that’s easier said than done, but if you maybe put a different spin on it, for example if you start to speak about something you’re not comfortable with, just turn around and say, right now is probably not the right time to talk but you will do eventually when the time is right.
- Make sure you allow the person to talk, because interrupting has to be one of the most annoying things, but just take it slowly.