Why You Should Embrace Awkward Small Talk

Do you think small talk is a time waster?  Would you rather send a text than have an in-person conversation? Do you go out of your way to avoid small talk? If you said yes to any of these, Lisa B. Marshall, aka The Public Speaker, will show you how to look forward to mundane small talk.

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read
Episode #308

An important study has even found that social interaction, trying to get to know people and trying to understand their perspectives improves performance. This is common sense. If you understand how people think, you will be able to work with them better, have better intra-office and client relations, and be just generally liked better.

And the fact is, to be successful in business or in life, you have to be able to reach out and connect with others. In business, it’s crucial. Forbes Magazine quotes Scott Hoover’s book, How To Get A Job On Wall Street: “In trying to generate business, the deal pitch is obviously critical. What is not so obvious is that simple, seemingly innocuous conversation with potential clients can be just as important. Companies want to hire people who can think on their feet.” And people like to be with other people who make them feel comfortable, because they are willing to reach out to them in conversation, even light conversation.

So when your friend or relative calls, and you start with small-talk, you are strengthening an emotional bond and opening yourselves to a deepening of your mutual love. When your boss calls, and you start with small talk, you are getting to know each other more clearly, so that you can respond to each other’s cues, understand what the other needs, and improve your interaction and your performance.

Have you noticed that, in general, small talk skills seem to be deteriorating? I certainly have. Instead people prefer to just text, which gives them an excuse to skip the warm-up and just jump directly to information sharing.  The problem is that it then becomes a vicious circle, because the lack of practice then makes small talk even more difficult. In fact, recently I've even heard a number of people say that they really aren't comfortable with in-person conversations—they'd rather text!  

So if you’re not good at small talk, or small talk makes you uncomfotable, start practicing! It can make the difference in your career and in your life. If you'd like more help with this skill, in my book Smart Talk, I explain practical steps for starting and maintaining conversations that lead to deeper relationships, along with many other important communication topics.  

This is Lisa B. Marshall helping you to lead and influence.  If you'd like to learn more about compelling communication, I invite you to read my bestselling books, Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview and listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk. As always, your success is my business

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.