I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
It feels unauthentic, forced and shallow.
While it isn’t always easy, it is possible to avoid small-talk all together and cut straight to meaningful conversation.
In this post, we’ve gone over 5 hacks you can try to get more out your conversations than the weather.
1) Get the other person to tell a story
When we engage in small-talk, often we ask questions that can be answered in one or two words. So, instead of asking a simple question like “how are you”, ask a more open-ended question.
Here are some ideas:
– “How are you?”
– “What is your job?”
– “How was your weekend?”
– “What’s going on?”
– “Do you come here often?”
– “What’s your story?”
– “What’s the weirdest thing about where you grew up?”
– “How’d you end up doing the job you’re doing?”
– “What was the best thing that happened on the weekend?”
– “What are you most excited about this week?”
– “Who do you think is the luckiest person in this room?”
2) Be curious.
I know, the thought of small-talk can make you feel tired.
But we all have natural curiosity, so channel that curiosity to learn about the other person.
You’ll listen more intently, and your body language will show you’re interested as you naturally think of questions that move the conversation forward. Being curious about others increases trust and intimicay which means they’ll be likely to share more meaningful information about themselves.
3) Ask why instead of why.
Don’t just ask the facts (“what” questions), but ask why they made certain decisions. For example, after you’ve asked, “What college did you go to”, follow up with, “Why did you choose that college?”. Hopefully you’ll be able to learn more about the person and what makes them tick.
4) Share details about yourself.
If you’re introvert, you probably dislike talking about yourself. It can make us feel vulnerable and exposed. But if you want to get, you’ve got to give.
When someone asks you, “How’s it going?” or “How’s your day?”, instead of giving the typical two word response, expand your answer. Give details about your day and see what they respond to. Who knows where the conversation could lead.
5) Dare to be honest.
We often forgo sharing our true thoughts and feelings for the sake of politeness. But why not be completely honest? You can quickly take conversations to a deeper level by saying things like:
– “To be honest, I don’t like parties like this. People seem shallow and inauthentic.”
– “If I’m being honest, I hate camping. Like, really hate”.
– “I’m not a big talker, but I love listening”.
Of course, you don’t want to go to extreme and hurt people’s feelings, however if you do it, you can quickly build feelings of intimacy and trust.