Go Small or Go Home: Mastering the Art of Small Talk
If you’re not comfortable with small talk, don’t feel you’re particularly adept at it, or flatter yourself by thinking you’re above it, news flash: get comfortable with it, get better at it, and don’t flatter yourself. In today’s virtual world, where so many interactions happen online, it’s essential in making a human connection and letting your colleagues and co-workers know that you care enough to ask them about non-essential things.
I also give a sneak preview of the next Pod: Has it Every Occurred to You that Maybe You ARE an Imposter? When someone tells you they feel like an imposter, what they think is a shocking confession is the very definition of a humble brag as almost 100% of the time they should feel like an imposter.
Welcome to another edition of the NSFW podcast. My most recent column in #evolve – go small or go home – is about something we all engage in whether we like it or not – small talk.
Everyone hates or pretends to hate small talk. Banter, chat, chew the fat, shoot the breeze, bs…no problem. But small talk? Forget it. Probably because it implies an admission that you’re incapable of or for some deep-seated insecurity you shy away from the opposite of small talk – which I suppose is meaningful, knowledgeable conversation about big things.
I always just love it when I’m milling around before a meeting or some function, and I’m working hard to engage someone I barely know, and after 60 seconds of a one sided conversation they give you a “look, I’m not good at small talk.” Yes, I’d prefer to be discussing Wittgenstein too, buddy, but we only just met and I figured we’d work up to after the weather and last night’s ball game.
The fact is, NO ONE likes making small talk – tap dancing for 60-90 seconds while you’re waiting for a meeting to start or talk to begin is awkward and very hard work, particularly if you’re the only one putting in all the effort.
But if you’re not comfortable with small talk, don’t feel you’re particularly adept at it, or flatter yourself by thinking you’re above it, news flash: get comfortable with it, get better at it, and don’t flatter yourself. In today’s virtual world, where so many interactions happen online, small talk is more than white noise – it’s essential in making a human connection and letting your colleagues and co-workers know that you care enough to ask them about non-essential things. Being all business on a Zoom call – unless you’re 15 minutes late – is not good for business.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to raise your small talk game – my latest NSFW column offers what I think is solid advice on making small talk, particularly in zoom-like settings. But it’s also time to start dusting off and upping your game for the real-world encounters that are just abound the corner, as things are starting to open up, and more people look to travel on business and make arrangements to attend trade shows.
FYI, the pandemic is gold for small talk and is the perfect ice-breaker: so, how did you spend the past 18 months? And variations on the theme, which should put you on cruise control for easily 120 to 180 seconds.
In the next NSFW podcast I’m going to discuss my column, Has it Ever Occurred to You that Maybe You Are an Imposter? I’m sure you’ve had this happen to you – every so often someone will make what they believe is a startling revelation: “You won’t believe this, but even I feel like an imposter sometimes.” You? Even a genius like you? Impossible.
Look genius, don’t flatter yourself. Almost invariably it’s a thinly veiled humble brag as the person claiming to be an imposter is an imposter and should feel like an imposter! The column goes on to decode what they really mean when confessing feelings of inadequacy and fraudulence…spoiler alert: when someone tells you who they are, believe them!
That slams the lid on another – in fact the second – NSFW podcast. Join us for the next one, available wherever you listen to podcasts…we promise, they’ll only get better, hard as that is to image. Thanks for listening, see you soon.