How To Feel Comfortable With Small Talk, Even As An Introvert
A month ago, on a flight from Sydney to Melbourne I sat next to a stranger and ended up chatting to him literally non-stop for the whole flight (4+ hrs). 💬🗣💭☺️🗯🙌
This guy was a retired lecturer from the US. So it wasn’t like we had an immediate amount of things in common.
But I was fascinated to talk to him about the life he’d led so far.
We chatted about all sorts of things. Countries we’d visited. The new book he’d just written. The careers we had and how we got into them. etc etc
It made the flight go by so quickly and made it so enjoyable. There literally wasn’t a moment of silence for 4+ hours. 😁
It got me thinking about *small talk*.
Because I know not everyone feels they’re good at it. I definitely wasn’t always good at it.
I’m an introvert. But I love talking to other people now.
I find it fascinating finding out about other people’s lives. E.g. What motivates them. Why they’ve done what they’ve done. What they’ve learnt along the way.
I haven’t always found it easy to talk to people though. I remember a conversation I had with my mum when I was younger. She told me:
“Everyone loves talking about themselves, so you just need to ask people lots of questions“
So I took on that advice.
It worked well to a degree, because I realised everyone has so many interesting stories to tell.
But, what I found was that simply asking questions ends up being very one-sided. 😬 It sort of feels like you’re interviewing someone! Ya know what I mean!?
Not great. You need to be able to respond as well.
So, I landed on this approach, which takes it a step further:
>>> Be *interested*…. but *interesting* too
i.e. Ask lots of questions and truly be interested in someone else’s story, opinion, point of view, perspective, hobbies, etc. Delve deeper than what they initially share to find out why they took certain turns in their life.
It’s fascinating to satisfy your own curiosity and it makes that person feel important and listened to.
But share things yourself too. Add value and input to the conversation.
So it goes back and forth. Like a good game of tennis!
This approach has helped me feel comfortable to strike up conversations with almost anyone and to be able to continue them too.
Now – I’m curious to know, what’s your best tip around making small talk!?
Please share below. I’d love to know what you keep in mind and what you find really works! Then we can all learn and benefit from your experience too (me included).
Thanks for reading,
Emily Edgeley is a Public Speaking Coach for the Technology industry. Since 2017 she’s run over 100 group coaching sessions, coached more than 250 people privately, and formally supported first time and experienced speakers at 10 Conferences, covering 1000+ people across the globe.
She’s on a mission to help anyone in the Tech arena learn how to speak with clarity, impact, and confidence, whether that’s at work or at a Conference. So they can share their ideas, build their brand and start to enjoy ‘public speaking’!