There are many reasons why people are nervous about going into social situations where they have to make small talk, such as a work event, a party where they don’t know many people, or at school.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Some people don’t like small talk because they get frustrated talking about seemingly unimportant topics. Also, other people are shy and afraid that they will say the wrong thing or lose topic of conversation.
Psychologists suggest that people who are uncomfortable with knowing what to say should use the Ford method. It’s an acronym that’s an easy way to remember four different topics of conversation for anyone you work with.
Almost everyone has a family, so asking someone to share some information about their personal life without going too far is a great way to do it. Arzt suggests the following questions when making small talk:
do you have any siblings?
how did you two meet? (If you are meeting a couple for the first time)
How old is your child?
What has your ____ (sister, brother, mother, etc.) been doing since ____ (event occurred)?
Like a family, almost everyone has a job. Or, if they don’t, that might be an interesting topic too. Here are some introductory questions you can ask someone about their job.
what do you do for a living?
How do you like working at _____?
What is your favorite part of your job?
Why did you become interested in becoming _____?
By knowing how a person spends his free time, you can learn a lot about him. This is an excellent way to determine if someone is like-minded and shares the same interests. Here are some questions to get the ball rolling:
What do you like to do for fun?
Have you watched (or read) ______(popular show/book)?
What are you up to this weekend?
Knowing someone’s hope for the future can tell you a lot about them on a deeper level. Maybe they just told you about their current job or how they spend their time. But ultimately, what do they want to do with their lives? Here’s how to ask someone about their dreams.
Where do you hope to work in the next few years?
where would you like to travel?
What is something you would like to try in the future?
Would you ever consider trying _____ (special hobby or activity)?
Arzt also notes that you shouldn’t be the only interviewer. You have to talk about yourself too. In other words, you need to give and take. “Pay attention to someone else’s answers and think about how you can connect to their experience,” he wrote.
Not sure how much to say during a conversation? 43:57 Follow the rules. A numbers guy at Gong.io analyzed over 25,000 sales calls with AI and found the right speaking-listening ratio. Sales increased when the salesperson talked 43% of the time and listened 57% of the time.
Even though this insight is from business calls, it applies to everyday social interactions. It’s really about listening and making the other person feel special. After all, who doesn’t like to be heard and appreciated?
This article was originally published on 10.20.23