Be Brave :: Engage in Small Talk
December 10, 2018
“…don’t be a sidekick, Robin.”
This week: Engage in Small Talk > it’s not as awkward as you think.
It’s Christmas party season, so this seems like a perfect #BeBraveEngage time to engage in small talk.
Small talk gets a bad rap. You may feel this surface-y conversation is shallow, ineffective, and sometimes painful, but for many people who don’t love get-togethers and struggle having a conversation, small talk is a blessing. It keeps things on the surface without having to share your life story with a new connection.
Small talk can also be that simple opportunity to see if you connect with a person, serving as a gentle introduction before engaging in deeper topics of conversation.
You find you have lots in common? The conversation keeps going.
You feel like you don’t? No worries and you can move on to the buffet table or refresh your drink.
Don’t be a sidekick, Robin. If you’re attending a Christmas party with your significant other, you may well be introduced as “so and so’s spouse” but you, by no means, are Robin. Standing aimlessly by while the conversation floats around you is no fun, so engage and ask a question or two. You’ll be more interesting and interested.
Have “go-to” questions ready. I hate asking people about how work is because you inevitably hear the word “busy” and busy is booooooring and reminds people that they maybe shouldn’t be at the party because they have work to do. I like to ask, “what awesome projects are you working on lately,” or “faux tree or real tree,” and my favourite if they have kids “what has Elf been doing at your house lately?” Neutral topics are the best and keep the mood festive and light.
Take responsibility to meet others. Have you gone to an event only to hang out in the corner waiting for people to come to you? Get out into the room and mingle. I love it when people walk up and introduce themselves to me and admit they don’t know anyone in the room. I make it my mission to introduce them around. Additionally, when you’re in a conversation and you see someone who wants to join in, welcome them and introduce them around to the others. It’s a great way to keep people engaged and not feeling left out.
So this festive season with what seems like a zillion parties to attend, engage in small talk and you may make a great new connection.