Making a first impression definitely make a difference in life. A lot of it can be found in the art of small talk.
Making small talk means making pleasant conversation on casual topics. It is different from conversations which pursue deep topics because making small talk means you do not engage in heavy debate about such deep topics, and do not express too much of an opinion. The point of small talk is to find topics that you and the other party have in common, so that you can form deeper ties with the other person. The preferred effect of small talk is to form ties of friendship with the person you are talking to.
It helps with the following:
1. Create a friendly atmosphere wherein you and the other person can exist.
2. Help you make a favorable first impression on the other person.
3. Permit two people to learn a lot about one another within a short period of time.
4. Help you learn more about a topic that you are interested in.
How can you master the art of small talk then? There are 8 steps to doing so:
1. Before an event where you know you will have to engage in some small talk, try to hone up on various topics you believe will be of interest to all concerned. It helps if you are actually interested in such topics yourself, but fake it until you make it.
2. Learn to gauge the receptiveness of other people to the small talk topic you have selected. This means that if the other party gives you subtle vibes that he does not like the issue at hand, you should find a way to excuse yourself politely from the group and join another group which is more receptive to making small talk.
3. Smile and maintain eye contact with the person you are making small talk with. This helps to raise the comfort level for both you and the other party.
4. Introduce yourself first then lead the conversation by asking an open-ended question. Some people though are naturally shy so if you find this hard, let someone ask the first question then make it a point to join in afterwards. People do like talking about themselves which creates report.
5. Make it a point to use the name of the other person in the conversation. This shows the other party that you are paying attention. Also, make sure that you do not get it wrong!
6. Listen closely so that you can catch key phrases and words, facts and opinions vented by other people in the group. This allows you to make intelligent comments yourself. Seeming intelligent can come down to good listening techniques.
7. Self-disclosure is important because it shows the other people around you that you trust them enough with certain information about you. The trick is knowing how much personal information to disclose. Rather let people wonder why you don’t speak, as opposed to why you do.
8. Encourage other people to join in by asking for their opinion about the topic. Once again this builds report.
As you can see, the art of small talk can be kept alive if enough people were to follow these guidelines. Making a good first impression is easier than you may have thought.