mercredi 29 août 2012

Small Talk

I recently attended a three-day training event where I knew I was going to have to make efforts to network with colleagues, but where I was dreading the small talk. In the classes themselves, I have no problem chatting it up with people. It was the meet-and-greet and social happy-hour-type events that I was dreading.

If only I'd come across these tips earlier!

What to Say When You Hate Small Talk

* Sharing small details is a really good way to gauge interest in a subject and start up a real conversation. Instead of responding to a simple question like, "How's it going?" with "Good, you?" expand your reply with a details about your day. For instance, you might say, "Good, I spent the morning kayaking and I'm feeling great!"
* If you don't know the people you will be conversing with, think about the things that will probably interest those you meet. Ask them about the unique aspects of their locale ("I saw an interesting statue in the way into town. What's the story behind it?"), read up on the company they work for ("I hear you will be expanding into China soon-when will that be happening?) and ask those who do know the others better for some background information.
* When you get the "What do you do for fun?" question, don't just say, "Oh, I usually go hiking" (or whatever). Talk about a recent experience with your hobby, like, "This past weekend I went up the mountain and had a picnic with my sister. We saw a bear chasing a mountain goat."
* "What's keeping you busy when you're not at events like this or at work?" This question gives the encouragement necessary for the person to share his/her passions and outside interests. It is an excellent way to add some enthusiasm into a conversation that has hit a lull, especially if he/she would prefer to be doing that activity at that moment.
* "Are you getting away this summer?" This question can lead to conversations about family, reveal special interests and, if you like talking about travel, it's a sure-fire way to keep a conversation interesting.
* "How did you come to be in your line of work?" For some, the path to where they are today can be quite an interesting ordeal. Having a chance to revisit their story to success can leave helpful clues along the way as to who they are and what makes them tick.

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