Three Big Rules for Small Talk

Three Big Rules for Small Talk. People often confide in me that they suffer from cocktail party phobia. The idea of walking into a room full of strangers and striking up a conversation can cause severe social anxiety and it’s telling that the most common question I am asked in my Introduction to Charisma Course is “What do I say after I say hello?”

To make your small talk stress free, follow these golden rules:

 Shut-up and listen

By concentrating on your conversational partner, the pressure is OFF you. Relax. Pretend a giant spotlight is on your partner as you ask him or her three or four questions that require more than a yes or no answer. Watch for cues in your conversational partner: what makes their eyes light up? Do certain topics or question make them smile inadvertently? Do certain topics cause them to stiffen up? Look at their body language and follow the cues to delve deeper into conversational topics that interest them, not you.

 Repeat Rule One

Shut-up and listen.  If there is one element to successful communications it’s listening. There will be time to relate your experiences once you form a deeper connection but in the beginning stages of any social interaction, the true charmer knows the attention should always rest of the other person.

 Check your ego at the door

This can be hard if you are an extrovert. The anecdote of Benjamin Disreali and William Gladstone best sums this up. In 1886 London, William Gladstone was running against Benjamin Disraeli for position of prime minister. During the last week of the campaign, both men took out the same young woman for dinner. When the press interviewed her about the candidates she said, “After dining with Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest person in England. But after dining with Mr. Disreali I thought I was the cleverest person in England.” No doubt who won that election!

You will be perceived as more intelligent, attractive and fascinating if you focus solely on your conversational partner.

For more tips on mastering the art of Small Talk, whether in a social setting or to expand your business network, feel free to schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me. Happy charming.

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