Small talk is an essential part of connecting with people and making new friends. Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong during brief, informal conversations.
In order to avoid distancing yourself from others, making communication awkward and missing opportunities to connect on a deeper level, you must steer clear of these six, common small talk mistakes.
- Bringing Up Topics That Are Negative Or Depressing
Small talk is supposed to be uplifting. The idea behind these conversations is that everyone should leave feeling lighter and more positive than when they went in. Thus, if people are talking about recent news events, make sure to pay attention to the nature and tone of these topics before diving right in.
Sharing morbid, gruesome or depressing tales will not make you the life of the party. Keep it light-hearted and witty instead.
- Dominating The Conversation
This is your opportunity to learn more about the people around you, even if you are only getting tidbits of information at a time. Small talk allows everyone to dive in and offer their opinions.
If you make the mistake of hogging the spotlight or of focusing too long on yourself, you could shut the conversation down.
- Asking Questions That Are Far Too Personal
Nerves can make people do and say some pretty funny things. Small talk typically moves at a fairly rapid pace, however, you want to avoid rushing your responses and asking questions before you've thought them out.
Let people offer information about themselves rather than asking highly personal questions. Being a good listener is the best way to encourage people to open up. This also eliminates the risk of your making inquiries that could lead to awkward silences and embarrassment.
- Failing To Take Advantage Of Opportunities To Make Deeper Connections
Try not to shut conversations down or rush on to other topics when they move into deeper territory. These conversations can sometimes be a lead-in to more personal discussions that allow people to form deeper connections and bonds.
You should remain an active and alert listener when the conversation turns so that you get a better feel of the direction in which the speaker is trying to lead you.
- Failing To Stay Abreast Of Recent Development
You can't take part in most discussions if you haven't a clue about what's going on in the world. Try to stay abreast of recent developments in politics, local news and major world events.
Having an informed opinion will make it easier for you to become an active participant when talks turn to topics about social matters.
- Sharing Religious And Political Views
Unless you are with a group that shares your religious and political views and that happens to be actively speaking about these things, small talk is not the time to air your ideas on these subjects.
When just getting to know people, it is best to spend time talking about things that are more neutral. When these subjects do come up, try to keep an open mind and avoid pushing your ideas or becoming overly emotional.
If topics become too controversial and people become heated in their efforts to change the opinions of others, these gathering wind up being far from pleasant.
Ultimately, small talk should be free-flowing and easy. Maintaining an upbeat attitude and sticking to positive and light-hearted subjects will invariably help you and the rest of the group to feel this way. Although you should be an active participant in these discussions, you also want to spend as much time being an attentive listener.
These efforts will help you to make a positive and lasting impression on the people that you meet and could open the door to deeper and longer-lasting connections.