The art of small talk

Die Kunst des Smalltalk

Mastering small talk is very important in everyday life, whether it's business contacts or meeting an old acquaintance. Many people simply don't enjoy talking to different people about the same three topics every day. In addition, there are also very shy people who are even afraid to make small talk because it makes them so uncomfortable. In that case, it can be beneficial to practice small talk, as it can be a key factor in making contacts.

Facial expressions and gestures

Facial expressions and gestures are a great way to emphasize your outward appearance so that you leave a lasting impression. A smile is never wrong, as it conveys openness and interest in the conversation. During the conversation, you should also make eye contact at least once in a while. This way you can create a positive mood for the conversation, which is always an important basis for successful small talk.

The right topics of conversation

The choice of topics is extremely important for how the conversation goes. Topics should not be too profound. For example, politics is far too big a topic to discuss briefly and opinions can be very conflicting. Since the topic is so fundamental and society is very divided by it, you then already subconsciously form an opinion about the interlocutor.

Religion, discriminatory jokes or very private topics are also no-go's in classic small talk.

Should nevertheless a sensitive topic be addressed by the counterpart, one should take a neutral position towards the topic, even if one has a certain position on it, in order to avoid a profound discussion.

Rather, topics such as the weather, hobbies or vacation destinations should be addressed. Cultural topics such as a concert can also be taken up gladly, since they affect a large part of society.

Sports is an often used topic in small talk, as it appeals to a large part of society, either through one's own occupation or because one supports a team/athlete.

People may have different opinions there, but it is not as serious as in fundamental discussions and in case of doubt it is easier to find a common ground.

Food or restaurants can also be discussed, but special eating habits, for example, should only be communicated when asked, otherwise it often seems that you have a strong need to communicate or that you want to convince the other person of your point of view.

So, if you answer a question in a short, appropriate way, you maintain the positive progression of the conversation and keep the small talk in that all-important "flow."

Overall, then, only "light" topics should be addressed that can be dealt with superficially and relatively quickly.

Ratio between listening and talking

Attention should also be paid to the ratio of listening to talking. It's the mix that counts! The other person notices immediately if he or she is hardly given a chance to talk. It is also important to make sure that you do not interrupt the other person, as this has a very rejecting effect.

You can talk for a long time if the other person asks questions and it is clear to see that he/she is interested in the conversation.

Small talk - a burden or a blessing?

For many the Smalltalk is only forced and annoying and that is just fine. After all, it can't bring joy to everyone. However, if you practice it often enough, it can be really fun and also help you make important acquaintances.