How to Make Small Talk: The Fundamentals
If you are like any sane person out there, then you must hate small talk.
Even if you are someone who hates small talk, there is no denying that it is a very important skill set to posses.
The ability to communicate your message harmoniously with someone is what allows you to make connections and friends.
But a part of communicating harmoniously is by first, laying down the foundations.
By laying down the foundations, you will be able to navigate your way around this very ambiguous skill set, and expand your network along the way.
Want to know a secret?
If you get good at small talking, you may actually enjoy it!
That may seem like mission impossible now, but wait till you master the basics.
Let us start from the very beginning.
What is Small Talk?
I define small talk as the following:
Small talk is the ability to converse about basic every day topics in order to build a social foundation.
You typically engage in small talk with a stranger or when you run into someone that you want to interact with briefly, but not in depth.
Let’s say that you see a stranger while waiting in a line at the grocery store.
Well, you can make an observation about the very unique necklace they are wearing.
The necklace didn’t just crawl on to their neck.
They must have put some thought behind it, right?
Best way to find out is by asking!
Well, once you ask & they respond, what next?
Now it’s your turn to keep the conversation flowing.
You have to transition to the next point to keep the conversation fluid & not let it dry out.
Since you are the one who initiated the conversation, it will typically be your responsibility to transition (unless you are talking to a very social person).
The small talk that you are engaging in will allow you to delve deeper into the conversation.
As you flow into the deep conversation, you set up a foundation along the way.
The small talk is sort of like the rapport builder for you & this stranger.
By building the rapport, you my be able to build a future social asset.
Why do Your Small Talk Skills Suck?
Your small talk skills suck for a very simple reason.
You do not value it.
In my video above, I compare not seeing value in small talk like someone who does not value in the gym.
Do you really think that I can convince that person to go to the gym & put his body thru brutal pain?
Same with small talk.
You do not see value in the skill set. Which is the reason you don’t spark up conversation with strangers.
You wonder, what if they are rude?
Simply not worth the emotional pain just in case you do get rejected.
But your lack of seeing value is why you never practice the skill set.
Emphasis on SKILL SET.
Although small talk may seem like a vague act, it is not.
It is something that can easily be learned with fundamentals, practice & repetition.
I will discuss the fundamentals later on in this blog post.
But you will never get good at it unless are you willing to show the courage to begin.
Why You SHOULD see value in small talk
Your ability to small talk will dictate how far you get in life.
You always hear the quote:
‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’
And the quote is fundamentally true.
Which is why the person who knows how to form connections always tends to be the one presiding over the person who is simply book smart.
Well, let me ask you something.
How are you going to know the ‘who’s’ of the world without small talk?
You think you are automatically going to be talking to everyone like they are your life long friend?
Some people may be friendly with you from the get go, sure.
But there will be many occasions where you need to build the foundations, then progress from there.
Your ability to small talk makes you a social mutant who is able to create webs of dialogue with anyone they please.
It’s a modern day superpower if used on the right people in the right situation.
It is the spark for turning a stranger into a future social asset.
Framework for Small Talk
Now it’s time for the moment of truth.
I told you what small talk is, why you suck at it & why you should improve.
But now I am going to give you an easy formula to maximize your small talk muscle.
The formula is:
1. Break Ice & Leverage name
2. Search for commonalities.
a. if no commonalities are found, then keep questioning & building rapport.
b. if commonalities are found, zone in on that.
3. If the person is cool, exchange numbers.
4. Follow up
Let’s go thru each one.
1. Break Ice & Leverage Name
For many people, the hardest part of a dialogue isn’t the dialogue itself, but rather starting of the dialogue in the first place.
Push you momentary discomfort and take action anyways. If they ignore you, then screw them! There are tons of other people on this planet anyways.
But say a simple hello, introduce yourself & get their name.
Once you get the name, don’t let it disappear into the universe.
You need to use it, otherwise you will forget it!
But leveraging the name is CRUCIAL when you are talking to a stranger (or anyone for that matter).
The stranger has no clue who you are. So there is 0 emotional connection between the to of you.
However, when you use the name, you change up the game.
When someone hears their name, they FEEL emotions.
Don’t believe me? Observe your body the next time someone correctly says your name.
But using their name, you will cause them to tie that emotion with you.
By doing this, you build an invisible emotional bridge that will allow for a gateway of communication.
2. Search for commonalities
For far too long, you have hated small talk because you talk about a whole bunch of nothing.
You just aimlessly wing it.
You need to fix your ways by having some structure.
The structure is by getting into the small talk conversation with the purpose of finding commonalities.
Now you are not aimlessly entering a conversation hoping to figure it out.
You are entering with a mission in mind which is to find similarities with the other party.
a. But what if I don’t find any similarities?
While you were hunting for the similarities, you will have noticed yourself asking a lot of questions, contributing & listening.
These 3 acts allow you build rapport with the other person.
The main reason I ask you to look for commonalities is so you have confidence behind your words.
b. And if I do find similarities, what next?
If you find similarities, go all in on them!
Contribute & have them contribute as well.
People love to talk to people that they can relate with.
Now that you have your information, you will be able to strengthen & solidify the emotional bridge.
3. If the person is cool, exchange numbers
Let’s be real.
A lot of strangers will be straight up weirdos. If that is the case, give yourself a pat on the back for exercising your social muscle & gently exit the interaction.
But if this is someone who you think can help you down the near future, then exchange numbers.
This individual can be a potential future asset or even a friend.
4. Follow up
Now that you have broken into their world, it is now a game of keeping yourself relevant in their world.
We live on a very noisy planet nowadays.
The ability to follow up is CRUCIAL.
That is how you stay in their minds & are able to strengthen that imaginary emotional bridge over time!
Follow up via text or phone call.
Take it a level further and add them on social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Then initiate future meetups as well.
The Era of Small Talk is Here
For most people, they have just given up on small talk.
They find it weird & awkward.
Which is excellent news for you!
You have one of the lowest amounts of competition in the social world than you can possibly imagine!
It’s become so polarized that there are 2 groups of people:
The ones who SUCK at small talk & the ones who EXCEL at it.
There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground nowadays.
Which boat to do you want to fall in?
The choice is yours.
Just understand that this is a skill set & a modern-day superpower.
So make your next moves wisely.
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– ArmaniTalks 🎙️🔥