If you are someone who loves a good conversation but have no idea where to start, or how some people have an easy time with small talk topics, you are in the right place!
In order to start a discussion, especially with someone you don’t know, you will need to know helpful and unhelpful small talk topics, ones you should definitely try to avoid.
But before we get into these small talk topics, let’s look at some do’s and don’ts when talking to persons you don’t know well:
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When talking to people you don’t know well such as clients and customers, here are some things you should do to help clear the air
Smiling before initiating any type of small talk makes you seem friendlier and more approachable. Just don’t fake it, or else you will may turn them off.
02Maintain eye contact:
When talking to someone, it is important that you maintain eye contact. If they notice that you are scanning the room, you seem uninterested and this may cause offence, but don’t stare either. Be natural!
03Maintain open body language:
During a conversation, your body language says a lot. By folding your arms or slouching with crossed legs, you seem closed off and uninterested.
However, by maintaining open body language, you seem openly active, and interested in the conversation.
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Here are some things you should avoid when trying to clear dead air:
While you may be excited or passionate about the small talk topics, ranting is very distasteful. You need to converse, not rant.
02Use your cellphone:
Texting or responding to emails while having a conversation is perhaps one of the most disrespectful things you can do. If you do get an important phone call, politely excuse yourself.
It is okay to give your opinion on something or disagree but being overly critical can turn someone off completely.
‘Where are you from?’ is among the most popular small talk questions. It isn’t too intrusive and can work in any setting.
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Sports is one of the most foolproof small talk topics you can choose. Why? Because even if you don’t like sports, you can talk about why you don’t.
If you are waiting somewhere and there is dead air, make a comment about the décor. It is a simple topic and is something they can easily reply to.
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Talking about news is a great way to make small talk because almost everyone has access to what’s going on in the area, whether through newspapers, television news broadcasts, radio, social media, or word of mouth. And if not, they need an update!
Technology is one of the best small talk topics for young adults. Questions could be as simple as ‘Have you seen the new iPhone?’
In a setting such as a gas station, supermarket or store, it is easy to start a conversation by complaining about prices.
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Family as a small talk topic works best in informal settings where you have more time to get to know them.
For instance, you can ask, ‘Do you have any children?’ or ‘Are you married?’ because family is something more people are comfortable discussing.
It has been said that you should never ask a woman her age but making comments about her appearance can be just as bad.
Imagine asking a woman who just has on a few extra pounds if she had just given birth. That can be awkward.
Death is a sensitive topic and should be avoided unless you are expressing condolences. Just remember this is probably the most sensitive of the small talk topics you can choose.
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While you may wish to share your personal experience with an illness, using it as one of your small talk topics can make people feel uncomfortable and you may seem desperate for sympathy.
If you are on a first/blind date, asking about or talking about exes and past relationships is a no-no. This information will come up if you make it a few more dates in.
Think about how crazy someone would seem if they came up to you and started bad-mouthing their significant other. See? Then don’t do it.
Small talk topics should involve everyone. If they can’t, avoid them.
The purpose of small talk is to clear dead air, not to make it more awkward or uncomfortable. Read the room and decide which of these small talk topics is best for you, and bear in mind the ones you should avoid!