Introverts and those who dislike social functions can find small talk (the art of starting and maintaining a conversation) difficult. It can even put them off attending functions that they would otherwise enjoy because they think they may appear to be awkward, boring, or completely run out of things to discuss. It’s hard to avoid, however, so rather than miss out on important or fun occasions, here are some tips on how to make interesting small talk.
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Reduce Your Anxiety
The need to make small talk can make some people truly anxious, filling them with dread. Although it can be hard to reduce anxiety altogether, if you try to stay positive and rational then you will certainly feel better about things. Ask yourself what the worst that can happen is if you don’t enjoy the upcoming conversation; it won’t be as bad as you think. It’s key to remember that you are an interesting person and you do have things to say that are as valid and relevant as everyone else. If you start the event with the negative thoughts of wanting to go home and telling yourself that you hate small talk, then you could well be setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You may be an introvert, but you’re also most likely curious too. Many introverts are. So channel your curiosity and make it the over-riding factor in any conversation. Ask your questions with genuine interest and the answers that you get will be fuller and have more details in them. These details are what you can grab on to and to ask your next question so that you don’t run out of conversation too early.
Be Up To Date
Keeping up to date with what is happening in the world is another great way to ensure that any small talk you have is interesting. Make sure that you read newspapers, go online to browse news sites such as AmericaHerald.com, watch the evening news, or even download apps to your smartphone so that you can always be totally up to date. Although social gatherings aren’t necessarily the place to have deep discussions about world events, it’s important to have an idea of what is happening and to have formed an opinion so that if they come up in conversation, you are ready. Plus, understanding what is happening locally and further afield means you will never run out of topics to discuss.
Talk About Yourself
If you are the one asking the questions it can feel like something of an interrogation if you don’t volunteer any information about yourself at the same time. Sharing information about yourself that is relevant and interesting will broaden the conversation and ensure that it keeps going rather than cutting it short. Make sure that you don’t give closed answers, or one word answers as this can stop any conversation in its tracks. For example, if someone asks how you are, don’t just answer with, ‘Fine,’ but instead tell them why you are fine – what did you do that day that put you in a good mood, or what are you about to do. It all leads on to more conversation.