Let’s Make a Good First Impression with Small Talk

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Good First Impression with Small Talk

Do you know how easy it is to handle initial communication even if the other party is a great unknown? In this case, how will we continue the conversation without an awkward silence? What’s more, how will we show an overall interest in communicating together?

The answer is small talk. It is an art of communication we appreciate in an unfamiliar environment. Still, at the same time, it is a “way” to further and more profound debates. It is said that extroverts are natural and do not have to learn it in any particular way, but for introverts, it is literally a waste of time, says Federika Plesník, mentor, coach, and lecturer.

“Introverts do not know what to say. They would rather talk about deeper, more meaningful things, or they need to read the stranger before they start communicating with them. And this is not possible via small talk. Immediate communication, improvisation, and readiness are expected.”

Good First Impression with Small Talk

As Federika adds, extroverts can make small talk naturally. They do not need to think about it, let alone learn it somehow. On the other hand, introverts need to practice it. “… so they know what is safe and acceptable to say in situations with strangers. Ideally, they should rehearse it in peace. So they are ready in a real-life situation. It will bring them relief, less stress, a feeling of greater self-confidence, and a better ability to establish conversations and contacts. It is difficult, even impossible, to establish new relationships without small talk. Most of the deeper conversations and relationships initially start with some form of small talk.”

Federika says that progress in developing this skill depends on “Where there is a will, there is a way.” At the same time, she reminds us that it is not necessary to expect perfect conversation, but it is essential to work on improving it through appropriate sentences that will open the communication, lighten it, or move it to other topics.

Good First Impression with Small Talk

“Ask the other party open-ended questions. Are you wondering how the weekend was? Include what made you happy over the weekend. Are you asking where the person works? Ask how they got the job. Are you at a conference? Ask what the other party liked about the presentation.”

The second essential piece of advice from the coach is to share something about yourself. “Questions coming from one side can work as an interrogation. If the other party asks, try honest, elaborate sentences where the other can ‘grab onto something’ and continue the conversation. For example, for the question: ‘How are you?’ instead of saying, ‘Okay, thank you,’ you can say, ‘Thank you, okay. I came to work on my bike today; it usually makes me feel better.’ Or: ‘Thank you, well, even if I’m nervous because I have a presentation in the afternoon, and I would like to get it over with.'”

Good First Impression with Small Talk

Jakub Abraham, a Slovak royalist and an expert in social etiquette, is well acquainted with the art that will help us get to know each other and “move” the conversation. Jakub also emphasizes that in small talk, there is a significant interest in the other side, and we can ask questions without fear. “However, I would like to remind you that we have to be careful about the topics. It is also important to make the conversation lighter. Let’s not be afraid to be a bit jovial and open. However, let’s avoid personal things. Let’s take an interest in the other side rather than ourselves. The so-called neutral topics are a safe bet. Let’s talk about the environment, food, art. It always works.”

Good First Impression with Small Talk

As an etiquette expert who often guides his clients through the world of social behavior, Jakub complements the fact that small talk always helps us at social events such as receptions. “In these events, making new contacts is more than necessary. But who knows, maybe something more will come from the insignificant small talk. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time, so there’s no need to encourage it.”

Text: Eva Vašková, photos: pexels.com