Small talk

How To: Make Small Talk

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How To: Make Small Talk

How To: Make Small Talk

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learn the gift of the gab Forget about having a whole conversation with someone; the thought of making small talk, whether it's with a date, coworker or stranger, makes your palms sweat (in which case you want to avoid shaking the person's hand at all costs).

And your inability to make small talk hinders your ability to approach people in the first place. Just think about all the possibilities this eliminates. When you're standing around with someone you're not that close to, you'd rather look at your feet, play with your nails, and daydream about the other night instead of forcing yourself to make small talk. But small talk can lead to big talk, which can lead to big people, and huge opportunities.

With these tips, making small talk with anyone will no longer feel like pulling teeth (or at least won't make you feel like poking your own eyes out). The following are different scenarios and tips on how to keep the conversation going — most tips can be used in every scenario.

the first date

You and your date are sitting at a café after having seen a movie. This is always a tricky one because your small talk should lead to interesting conversation and make a great first impression (assuming you like your date).

Ask a lot of questions
Asking your date many questions is always a safe thing to do, since not only does it help you get to know her and provides the basis of good conversation, but asking questions is also a turn-on for women.

Questions show that you have a genuine interest in your date, as long as you show her that you also listen to her responses (she may quiz you later, believe me).

Ask her questions that are:

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  • Work-related: what she does; how she likes it; how long she's been working there, etc.
  • Family-related: what her family's like; what they do; whether they're close, etc.
  • Hobby-related: what she likes to do in her spare time; what she does on weekends, etc.
  • Pop culture-related: what kind of music she likes; what her favorite movie is; whether she liked the movie you just saw, etc.

First-date conversation topics can be a whole article unto itself, but in a nutshell, keep the conversation light, interesting and avoid anything philosophical, sexual and personal.

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the acquaintance

You're at your best friend's engagement party, and a man who looks familiar approaches you and starts talking to you. You just want to scope out the single women and make your way to the bar for more vodka shots, but this guy is awkwardly standing next to you.

Talk about who you know and what you have in common
If you have common ground with a stranger, use it to your advantage. Don't take the opportunity to gossip and bad mouth your mutual friends, rather use it in order to fill up space and maybe make a friend while you're at it.

If you're at an engagement party, for example, say how happy you are for the couple, and ask questions about the person's relationship with the bride or groom, like how long they've known each other.

And if you know he's a member of the same golf club, talk about your drive, slice and what happened at the club the other day.

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