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Columns : Influential Voice - Kim Welcome Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Small Talk
By Kim Welcome
Apr 7, 2011 - 11:49:07 AM

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If you absolutely hate being in situations that require you to ease awkwardness with insincere chit chat, you are not alone. Online polling company Amplicate recently found 78% of their participants feel the same way. Some see Small Talk as meaningless conversation with people they could care less about and have little in common. However, in social/business settings Small Talk is how we build relationships, make valuable connections and let people know what we have to offer. Like it or not the better you are at making good conversation the more doors open up to you. The good news, you can acquire this skill.  

I had a client whose promotion came with the responsibility to socialize with prospects, clients and senior executives from other regions. She dreaded having to piece together conversations at social events to kill the sound of silence. My first goal was to help her change her mind set. Instead of viewing this as a task, she needed to see this as an opportunity. You can learn something from anyone. Ask meaningful open ended questions that allow the other person to share their perspective……..and then really listen. My client began to realize that most people are interesting in some way and there is commonality in being human.  

In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie cites being a good conversationalist doesn’t mean you have to do most of the talking.  People like to talk about their jobs, share their opinions and advice; but it’s not often that we can find someone to listen with appreciation. If you can ask the right questions and become a sincere listener, people will not only want to talk to you, they’ll find you likable and engaging. 

Kim Welcome is CEO of Influential Voice, a Communication Trainer and Coach; she assists businesses and individuals to achieve their goals through helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. For more info www.influentialvoice.com

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