This is the fundamental requirement. Small Talk should be natural. You sound natural only when you are really interested in a conversation with the other person. Even if you are not really interested, you should still sound natural.
You should not put a face like “Oh, God, now I have to do Small Talk with this guy. Wish I were not here”. You can’t fool the other forever. Don’t fake it. Let it come from heart.
TALK SOMETHING THAT IS OF INTEREST TO BOTH
Anybody can talk something. That is no big deal. But if you talk some thing which interests only you, then others get bored. Hence talk some thing that is of interest to you and to the others. Avoid topics that bore others.
You can ask the person certain questions and elicit the information as to what his/her habits, hobbies, interests, likes and dislikes are. You can talk any nonsense as long as it interests others. Hence, there is no hard and fast rule about the selection of topics.
WRONG TOPICS CAN SPOIL THE ATMOSPHERE
Selecting the appropriate topic is very important. For example, talking about death to somebody who wants to have a good time on his/her birthday, or talking about divorce to someone who is celebrating the marriage anniversary or explaining your problems to some one who is neck-deep in his/her own problem, etc.
BE AWARE OF THE TIMING
It is also important to know when to start small talk. For example, in a business meeting where important things are discussed seriously and some one starts a small talk, it is not right timing. This is not only wrong timing but can also backfire. No doubt, small talk is acceptable in serious business meetings but there is certain timing for that. Hence, look for the right timing.
BE AWARE OF THE PLACE
Assuming that you are talking to elderly or famous person then you have to take a topic that is suitable to him/her. You can’t talk to such people about computers, fashion and pop-music, etc. If they are interested in such topics, it is no problem.
DON’T BOMBARD WITH QUESTIONS
Questions are important for Small Talk. By questioning you are not only know the other person’s interests and also make the talk interesting. But extreme caution should be taken while questioning. If your questioning style sounds like police interrogation, then people get offended or embarrassed. Don’t ask one question after another. Your talents lies in making the other person answer without sounding like an interrogator.
If you are going to meet an important person or a client, it is better to prepare yourself with some information on the topics that he/she is interested in, if at all you already know his/her interests.
DON’T SHOW OFF YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Small Talk is something that should be of interest to both the parties. You can’t use it as a platform to show off how intelligent or knowledgeable you are.
You can’t change the world in half an hour. If the other person’s views or opinions are not acceptable to you just save them for a later stage. Do not get into an argument mode. Small Talk is just meant to understand each other and create a friendly atmosphere. It is not an opportunity to get into arguments and discussions.
UNSAFE TOPICS FOR SMALL TALKS
· Speaking negative or bad about others.
· Avoid topics that embarrass others.
· Controversial topics
· Avoid heavy topics
· Don’t comment on genders, castes, regions, religions, nationalities.
· Don’t dig personal lives.
· Avoid talking about personal weaknesses and mistakes.