Small talk – a conversation or chit chat without any specific topic – is a necessity in any social or professional life. In fact, making small is a perfect replacement for an awkward and drawn out silence. But, what would you talk about, during small talk?
Well, be creative. Look around and comment on something. Or introduce yourself, or ask an ice-breaking question…. you got the idea.
Here are some of the most common topics to start a conversation, or keep it going:
1. Hello/Hi: A simple hello is good way to start any small talk; a basic greeting of mutual acknowledgement.
2. Introduction: If meeting for the first time, make sure to introduce yourself. It shows your interest in the meeting, and put a name to the face.
3. Situation and surroundings: Talk about the surroundings or the venue: ‘Nice place, huh!’ or ‘I like this cafe!’
4. Weather talk: This is all time classic, may be a bit too much used. However, a talk about weather always gets the conversation started.
5. How was your day? : If the meeting is in the late day or in the evening, talk about how your day was, there is always something to share: ‘how is your day going so far?’
6. So what are you up to today/tonight? : Ask about short term plans for the day, or the night or the next day. This is always good way to keep the chit-chat alive.
7. Talk about traffic: ‘How was the traffic on your way over?’ or ‘how did you get here?’
8. Give compliments: ‘Nice dress’ or Nice car’ or ‘ a nice house’…say something nice. It makes the other side feel at ease and warms up the talk.
9. How is school/work: The school or work topics are always good; people love to complain about work or school.
10, Sports: It is not only guys’ things anymore, women enjoy the sports equally. The trick is to find out -‘So, what kind of sports do you watch/play?’
11. Current news: Talk about current topics in the news – sports, headlines or any other current topics that your company may be interested in.
12. Family talk: If appropriate, e.g. among family friends, talk about your parents, kids, family vacation etc. Family friends can always have tons to chit-chat about.
13. Mutual friends: Talk about mutual friends, or friends of friends. Be positive, saying bad stuff behind someone’s back reflects poorly on you.
14. Drinks and Food: If you are invited over for a party, or if meeting someone over a drink or a meal, you can always talk about the food or the menu or the drinks being served,
15. Music, TV, movies comments: ‘Have you watched any movie lately?’ Or ‘Did you watch the Late Night Show last night?’ and so on…
16. Discuss hobbies: Talk about your hobbies, find out what your company likes to do in the free time. Exchange ideas on any common interests you share.
17. Talk about environment: It is the new fashion – a new trend, to be environment friendly. You can always talk about new initiatives or ideas about saving environment.
18. Travel talk: Talk about travel or vacation or a trip. ‘Any plans to go out-of-town this year?’
19. Share a funny anecdote or a joke: If appropriate for the occasion and if you feel comfortable, share some funny story or a joke to lighten up the mood.
20. Tech Stuff or new Gadgets:Talk about new toys – new cell phones, iPods, iPhones, new computers, new applications, Face-book, Quora….All of us have some new gadgets or computer applications that we like and love to talk about.
21. Discuss politics: Not everybody enjoys politics, but if you find the conversation stumble on a political subject and if that is something you can talk about, nothing wrong with that.
To master the art of small talk or improve upon it, you should also take a look at the article ’30 tips on the art of small talk’; it discusses the proper approach to small talk, how to keep the conversation going, and how to end it gracefully. Rather than dreading an occasion, you may actually find yourself enjoying it, if you can master the art of small talk!
- ’30 tips on the art of small talk’
- Hinglish of India – Indian idioms and phrases
- 12 Self-help tips on improving desi English language.
- 10 Tips on English pronunciation and accent improvement!
- How to break a bad habit!
- A self-help guide to lose your accent!