Engaging in playful small talk with people used to seem like a foreign language that I’d never learn how to speak. And I realize that many still struggle to carry on casual and enjoyable small talk with people they run into throughout their day. Well here I want to share six simple steps that will lead to successful small talk with anyone.

Make Observational Comments

One thing I’ve gotten incredibly good at is making playful and fun observational comments. These comments can start small talk or easily keep it going. Like for me, two days ago, I was in a hotel and saw a guy who was double fisting two cups of coffee. So as he walked by I said, “You must be thirsty huh?” Now this may sounds dumb when you read it. But I said it in such a way that he knew I was joking around. So he smiled and threw a fun comment back at me.

Observational comments are only as limited as your creativity. But I suggest keep them simple. You could comment on the color of someones bright shirt, their jewelry, something going on around you or really anything you notice.

 “Never seen stripes on an apron. Where’d you get it?”

Ask More Questions

When you have trouble coming up with what to say to someone…ask them a question. Get curious about who that are and ask them a question about their life. This will get the other person to open up more and you can quickly learn more about who they are. But try not to get too personal.

F.O.R.D.

FORD is an acronym for four great topics to keep your small to too. Family, Occupation, Recreation & Dreams. People seem most comfortable with talking about their occupation cause it’s so common. Then you can transition into family by sharing a bit about yours. Plus Recreation and hobbies is a great topic to touch on with small talk. And dreams should be saved for after the small talk goes on for a bit. Most people don’t want to open up about their dreams right away cause it feels personal. And they are probably used to people shooting down the possibility of their dreams coming true.

Release the Pressure to Be Super Witty

A bit reason why I used to struggle majorly with small talk was cause I put big pressure on myself to say things that were super smart, witty, funny and memorable. But if you observe most small talk, you’ll notice it’s usually very simple, surface level conversation. So focus more on actually connecting with the person and making their day a bit brighter. After all, you may only talk for a moment in the line at Starbucks. And lots of times it is less about exactly what you say and more about how you express it to the other person.

Keep It Upbeat

On the note of how you express it, keep the interaction upbeat. In my opinion, small talk should make both people feel better about their day and life. If you only have small talk that is all sad, dark and depressing…well that will not make other people’s day any better. So do your best to keep it upbeat, light and playful. Then if the other person takes the small talk to a dark, sad and depressing place, then do your best to bring it back to that upbeat, light and playful place.

Smile

And a simple way to keep your small talk playful and positive is by smiling more. This is more of a reminder for those who don’t smile very much. If you already do than you’re ahead of the game. I just know that if you struggle with small talk then it can be hard to not show stress on your face. I definitely had this problem throughout my teens and twenties. So just remember to smile throughout the chat. And eventually it will be super natural for you to small when you talk to anyone and everyone.

Having casual, friendly chats with people during your days can be fun and memorable. If you have difficulty engaging in small talk like this…don’t avoid these talks. Instead, embrace them and practice these six steps. As you do, you’ll get better and better at small talk. And down the road you will actually enjoy it more than you ever thought possible.

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Six Simple Steps to Successful Small Talk

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