Are you beyond tired talking of about you-know-what? I am. The epic presidential election of 2016 may even be causing your blood pressure to rise: a recent poll from the American Psychological Association found that more than half of Americans say the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.
The final countdown is finally on to November 8, and it is top of mind for everyone, no matter your party affiliation. But many of us are ready to talk about something else, and that’s why I thought I’d share some articles with tips on making (non-political) small talk.
P.S.: You don’t have to talk about it, but please, please vote!
To Make Better Conversation, Ask Better Questions
“How many times per week do you find yourself talking about topics you have no interest in or have already discussed a million times—just for something to say?…To combat these incredibly boring conversations, I started asking people unexpected, thought-provoking questions that couldn’t be answered with a simple yes or no. The results were awesome: I learned cool facts about other people that I would’ve never picked up in ‘normal’ conversation—and as a bonus we became closer. (And as a double-bonus, I got to stop weighing in on the weather.)” — The Muse
Common Ground is Solid Ground
“Small talk isn’t about having difficult conversations or bringing up controversial topics. In fact, that’s the exact opposite of small talk! Successfully making small talk is all about establishing an authentic connection, and a great way to get there is to find something you have in common with another person. Once you’ve found a common issue, be careful not to overshare and dominate the conversation with your own views about it. If you can get the other person talking and can be a good listener, you’ll have a better chance of developing sincere rapport.” — Robert Half.
Learn from the Masters
“‘Listen to comedians, listen to talk-show hosts, listen to real people,’ [consultant] Edahn Small recommends. ‘Try to remember the kinds of questions they ask, how they follow up on the other person’s answers, and even how they make use of silence. Chances are good that they learned the same way.’” — Business Insider.
Make Sure Your Small Talk Is Putting You in the Best Light
“Chatting about work and education, not to mention trivialities like bus routes and rain, can tell us quite a lot about ‘who the person really is…’. Not because it’s a snobby shorthand for sorting a person by her pedigree, but because it lets you evaluate how she talks about her experiences, how she tells the story of herself, and how she approaches trifles like bad weather. Is she whiny? Wry? Cheery?” — Slate.
Short and Sweet: How to Know When Your Small Talk is Boring
“….Use your own boredom threshold as a marker of when to cut to the chase, or move on. ‘Let’s face it, small talk can be boring, and if you’re bored, they’re definitely bored too,’ [says executive coach Geraldine Gallagher].” — The Guardian.