It’s about the rewards that you get from showing interest in the people you meet every day. I totally agree with him. I’ve met Chris and he’s a natural. His genuine interest in people shows through in everything he does; from his best selling book, “Trust Agents” to the way he engages people in social situations. For me, learning the art of Small Talk was not easy. Unlike Chris, I wasn’t a “natural” so it was hard work for me to get there. But I can say without reservation that it is the most valuable skill I have ever learned for business and for my personal life.
So, if you are like I used to be, here are some tips to help you come out of your shell:
Pretend you are Oprah.
Really! Watch some talk shows. Talk show hosts are masters at making people feel comfortable and open up by asking them the right questions at the right times. And they do it without losing themselves in the process. Try it. Next time you are in a social situation (business too) pretend it’s your job to interview people for a living. You’ll be really surprised at what happens.
Be inquisitive in a nice way.
There’s a good possibility that the people you meet are just as uncomfortable with Small Talk as you are. It’s easy to make people feel comfortable by showing an interest in something about them (people love to talk about their jobs, their families, etc.). You will find out that you have a lot more in common than you ever guessed and by focusing on them; you will not be focusing on your own anxiety.
Leave your “salesman shoes” at home.
There is a fine line between showing genuine interest and simply looking for “sales signals,” and believe me, people can perceive the difference. Understand that developing relationships is a process. Don’t only work to get to “Yes”.
Don’t be scared to share.
Don’t be afraid to share a bit of yourself even with strangers. A personal story or anecdote opens up a whole world of possibilities of great exchanges and conversation whether you are talking to a clerk in a store or to your biggest client.
Developing the art of “Small Talk” has enabled me to become fast friends with many people who at first meeting seemed to have nothing in common with me. These relationships have helped me grow my business and have expanded my circle of friends exponentially…most of all have enriched my life. And, what’s more, our Social Media activites are the digital version of in-person Small Talk. So learn, enjoy, and share with me your experiences.
Click here to watch Chris Brogan’s “Small Talk” video (it’s really short).