Small talk: You either love it or hate it. Navigating your way around small talk is a fact of life and whether you’re at a personal or professional event, the chances that you are going to have to mingle with new people are often high. While many of us might dread small talk, the act might not be as bad as we initially thought and it turns out, getting round it could simply be a matter of research. Arming yourself with a few social tips before you head out to any function is a sure fire way to make the most out of any new event and by the time you leave the party, you could be the most popular person in the room. Ready to become a small talk master? It’s time to get chatting.
- Remember People’s Names
One of the biggest issue with any social event is getting to know the new people around you. While you might have made all the polite introductions, as soon as someone new enters the circle, you can find yourself struggling to remember anyone’s names, despite that fact that they might have told you their own within the last minute. When you meet someone for the first time, make it a habit to repeat their name 2 or 3 times within the opening sentences of a conversation. The more frequently that you hear a name out loud, the more likely you will be to remember it later down the line.
- Do Your Homework
By the time that introductions have been made, it’s time to get onto an appropriate topic of conversation. When you’re feeling a little nervous, however, any ideas you might have had can go flying out of your head and before you know it, you can be standing in the middle of the social circle with nothing to say. In order to give yourself a fighting chance, try looking up a few news items, making a few notes about your personal interests or uncovering information about the event itself. When conversation runs dry, you know you will have something to help back you up.
- Draw Other People Out
Although it’s a great idea to be the person to get the conversation going, it doesn’t mean that you have to be the one doing all of the legwork. You can subtly twist the topic towards the other person or people in the circle in order to encourage them to talk more about themselves. Try asking them their opinion on the conversational subject matter, or posing them a few questions on the event. The more open ended questions that you ask them, the easier it will be to get to know them.
- Turn To A New Topic
From time to time, things can dry up in conversations with strangers and while your first response might be to panic, there are a number of ways that you can get past the ordeal. Waiting for a few seconds to see if the other person wants to make an exit is always a good idea but if that’s not the case, you have a few other options. You can try bringing out one of your own conversational topics, making new introductions, talking about the setting or embellishing your response to include new information. Putting conversational markers in place will make it easier for the other person to respond and it might also take the topic to an entirely new place!