The content can be current chitchat; the role small talk plays, however, is far from minor. It’s an enormously important conversation starter and often determines if you want to keep talking – hence the opportunity to build a relationship – or make a quick escape.
Because the content may seem unimportant (let’s get right to the “what do you?” and “what can you do for me”), you may think it unnecessary to prepare … and wing it. That works for the few people who can think succinctly on their feet and then articulate their thoughts fluently and effortlessly.
Gender differences in communication can also be small talk hazards. Men have three main topics in their small talk repertoire: sports, current events, business/jobs. Women have hundreds and since they disclose more about their personal lives they may run into a blank stare when they start with children and spouses.
Next week I’ll share eight tips to help you use small talk to get huge results.