Whether you wish to make someone feel comfortable or simply to establish a connection, small talk is essential in the world of business. Despite its importance small talk is often overlooked or even worse, got incredibly wrong. In business ‘small talk’ is often substituted for the word ‘networking’ and they can be very similar. Here are my top tips for small talking and networking:
- Avoid taboo’s. This is especially true when dealing with people from different cultures as what some people may find an acceptable topic of conversation may be offensive to others.
- Get people talking about themselves. Make sure you ask open ended question and follow up question to make someone feel like you are interested in them.
- Keep it (relatively) informal. The questions ‘What is his job?’ and “what are his hobbies?’ are fine grammatically but native speakers will rarely use them. Substitute them with ‘What does he do?’ and ‘What does he like to do?’
- Rain to the rescue. If you find nothing else to talk about, almost every culture on earth can relate to the weather. It may be a cliché but it is true.
There you have it, my top four tips for small talk and networking. Try them out.