Importance of Small Talk and Networking – Socially and for BusinessBy Angela Marshall, 2nd Jan 2014
Small Talk and Networking
Small talk can not only help you build a meaningful bond with a person, but it’s also a vital skill that will benefit you in your professional and social world. Many people feel anxious when networking or socialising with strangers. The more you do it the easier it should become. Be aware of the latest news, sport events, items on television so you can start a conversation and find out what interests the person you are talking to.
Here are tips and ideas:
- Have good body language – have good posture, open-stance (look towards the person), give good eye contact, smile and don’t cross your arms
- Keep your conversation light and positive – people like to listen to positive people, smile and laugh when appropriate
- Smile and pay attention – be a good listener and smiling relaxes your muscles as well as making you appear more friendly
- No mobiles – turn your mobile off or on silent, there is nothing more annoying than someone talking on their phone.
- Find a connection – some common ground, chat about various topics or who you both know
- Listen and learn – show you are interested, there is always something to learn or know
- Ask open questions – the best way of getting more information (why, where, who)
Finish and say goodbye well
It is important to finish your conversation in a positive way, if you got on suggest you meet up or chat again. If you are not keen to meet again then say “it was good to meet you and perhaps I will see you again sometime”.
Practise makes perfect so practise when you meet people e.g. talking to a shop assistant, postman or taxi driver. Even friends and family can help you practise.