By Nicole Tinkham
Do you dread the thought of going to a wedding, party, or event because you feel awkward making small talk and rather just stay home and not talk to anyone at all? If you do feel this way, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. I feel like this quite often because a) It totally drains me and b) I have a hard time just being myself around people I don’t know well. Small talk may seem unimportant. I mean, why must you know every detail about someone else’s vacation they just had when they don’t live in the area and you’ll probably never see them again? Well for starters, research shows that those who engage in more meaningful conversations live happier more fulfilled lives. Also, as an artist you want to get your name out there. Yes, networking can be a scary thought but getting better at small talk can turn you into a more confident person. A person people want to do business with. Intrigued? Read on for the top 5 things you need to know about small talk so you don’t have any more of those awkward moments.
1. Don’t worry!
You’ve heard it before. The thoughts you think and the things that run through your head on a daily basis become your reality. It sounds crazy, but it’s true! If you picture yourself failing miserably at every conversation and making a fool of yourself, it’s like you’re painting a picture of what will actually happen. Instead, focus on how incredible you’ll be at the even. Imagine that everyone there already loves you because let’s be real, why wouldn’t they?
Stress can be lethal. Seriously! You can lose sleep and make yourself sick over it. It’s simply not worth your time. Think about this. What is really the absolute worse that can happen in the situation? Is it really as bad as you’re making it seem? Most likely not.
2. Approach them first
Make it your goal to say hello first. In fact, you can even turn it into a game. This will hopefully get you out of your comfort zone and eventually get you better at initiating small talk in the future. Plus you won’t be disappointed just waiting around for others to come up to you. I like to think of starting off the conversation as if you’re in control of it. You won’t be thrown off guard by someone striking up a conversation out of the blue and you set the initial tone for the conversation. Remember to smile, be friendly, and ask questions (more about that next).
3. Continue to ask questions
Have you ever had a conversation trail off awkwardly or end abruptly? These situations just make you feel weird and at a loss of where to go with it. Be sure to always be asking questions to keep the conversation going. Avoid simple yes or no questions because you can easily find yourself stuck. A good idea is to have a go to list of open ended questions that you can ask in order to get to know someone better. Ask about their family, their occupation, and their hobbies. Remember to be interested instead of interesting. It’s all about the other person!
4. Just be yourself
Let your hair down and be yourself! Trying to be someone you’re not can be stressful and draining. It’s just way easier to let your true self shine. People will like you for who you really are, not who you’re pretending to be. You’ll feel more comfortable in your own skin and they’ll most likely appreciate you for being genuine.
5. Do it often
The best way to get really good at something is to practice it often. We’re all familiar with that concept when working on new art projects, right? So instead of hiding in the shadows when an event comes up, put yourself out there even if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. Actively sign up for events that you’ll have to make small talk at. Before you know it, you’ll be the life of the party.
The most important thing you need to remember when making small talk is that they’re just people like anyone else. There’s nothing special or intimidating about them. Act as if you’re talking to your best friend. Be yourself, be calm, be friendly, and be inviting. You may be wondering why even go through this torture, right? Do it to improve your people skills! Do it to meet new friends. Do it to get your name out there. You won’t die from talking to someone new so just get out there and do it. What’s the worse that can happen?
Some people are just naturally good at talking to people and others really struggle with it.
Tell us, which type of person are you? Leave a comment to let us know!