During a conversation last week, the topic of small talk came up, and the consensus from most people in the group was that they didn’t like small talk and would rather not engage in it. It was interesting to me, because I use to feel this same way many moons ago, until I realized how significant small talk is in forming connections with others.
Small talk with folks you don’t know can sometimes feel like you’re just talking for the sake of talking, with nothing of any real importance to say. That’s how I viewed it until I realized that small talk are the planks in a bridge that lead to deeper connection and conversations. Think about it, when was the last time you met someone and immediately jumped into a deep and meaningful conversation right off the bat? It usually doesn’t work that way for me, but I’m open to the idea that maybe I’m doing something wrong.
Based on my own experience, most conversations I’ve had with people I’ve just met are a series of comments and questions and listening in an effort to find common ground that a more enjoyable conversation can be built on. I look at it like fly fishing. You throw something out (like the weather, career, what they/you did last weekend, where they/you live) and see what you get. I’m amazed how often small talk leads to a “bite”.
So, the next time you find yourself engaged in small talk, instead of telling yourself the same story about how much you don’t like it, instead think of yourself on a “connection fishing expedition”. Who knows, you just might land a big one!