Wednesday Warm-Up Skill| Small Talk|

Man is a social being thus a good conversation stimulates your ability to reach out and feel gratification. Good conversation is what makes us interesting, attracts others to us, and builds meaningful relationships. Sometimes we talk too much, criticise, convey negative vibes and spoil what is already a very harmonious relationship. Thus understanding how we can nurture relationship is a very important aspect of our life. Keeping a channel of communication going with mutual progress can facilitate long lasting relationships.

Most people can converse successfully where they feel confident and safe with family members and very close friends. The problem arises when we are placed in situations where we feel anxious, tense, and self-conscious.

Good communication skills give you the ability to connect with more people, which will expand your horizon and opportunities. Good conversational skills will allow you to become successful at building new friendships, developing deeper relationships, as well as a sense of personal fulfillment.

One of the best books written in this regard is Dale Carnegie's "How to make win Friends and Influence People". A book which has relevance even today. Carnegie highlights many aspects which are very critical to have a long term influence on your network.Most his pointers are focused on how to make the other person feel in your presence. Some of the critical ones being -Refrain from Criticising others, Be appreciative,Genuine interest in others, being charming and likable, acknowledge mistakes, plant seeds of commonality, and making others feel important.

9 things you can add to your SMALL TALK to make it authentic and accomplish long term relationship are:

  1. Body Language & Gestures : communicates our feelings and attitude before and during conversation. The following “softening” gestures will make people more receptive and responsive to you: a) smile often b) open your arms away from your body c) lean forward d) offer a soft touch e) make direct eye contact f) nod your head to show your interest.

  2. Warm Greetings & Proactive interaction: You will get a more positive response if you are the first to say hello and initiate the conversation. By approaching another person, you are showing you care about them.

  3. Being Appreciative: The easiest way to start a conversation is to offer a compliment or comment about something, followed by an easy to answer question. Comment on something they are wearing, carrying, or about the surroundings. Follow-up your comment by asking open- ended questions to encourage more than a one word answer. For example, “I love the sweater you are wearing. At what types of stores do you enjoy shopping?”

  4. Active Listening - Listen for free information that accompanies the answer to your questions. By focusing on the free information, you can explore their experiences and interests. Listen for facts, feelings, and opinions. Listen for key words about people, places, things, and activities. Utilize the free information to move the conversation forward.

  5. Ask follow-up questions to improve your understanding. To clarify information, ask for examples. By being an active listener and asking follow-up questions, you encourage people to keep talking; when you make an effort to understand someone you show them you are interested in them.

  6. Self Disclosure - Be enthusiastic when you reveal experiences about yourself. Typically self-disclosure will escalate in steps as the relationship develops. The steps will begin with background experiences, followed by revealing personal opinions, then personal feelings, and ultimately fears, hopes, dreams, goals, struggles and sorrows.

  7. Taking interest in others -One of the keys to small talk is to discover the possibility for common interests, discovering the big things in a person’s life that are important to them, as well as searching for topics that generate enthusiastic responses. Think about open ended questions to ask ahead of time to uncover a person’s hot buttons. Some could be - What types of things do you do to relax? What excites you? What is really important to you? etc

  8. Balancing talking and listening - Be aware that the information exchange is balanced between talking and listening. Keep track of that balance. It is imperative to ask questions, encourage the other person to talk, and listen intently.

  9. Building Relevance & Support - Any small talk becomes futile when their is no future that can be mutually stimulating and beneficial. Any relationship becomes stimulating when there is either common goals, interests or purpose.Thus its essential to explore mutual relevance and support to take the small talk to the way forward. To be successful at improving your conversational skills, you might have to tweak your attitude -approach, and nurture the curiosity to see what you can offer rather than what you can get.

Wishing you great success in your small talks and building long term prosperous relationships and wellbeing in your social circle.

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