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  • I like small talk as long as it doesn’t get evil – a touch of irony won’t waste anything as long as it doesn’t turn into sarcasm..i use small talk to talk about people i know (and mostly it’s people i love, like my family or friends) and to express my emotions when i’m cross or when i’m happy, or to say what I think and give an opinion. I don’t like people who don’t let others talk, but I don’t like double-faced people who say horrible things about other people. I don’t condemn small talk as a general rule, but I think if you’ve got real thoughts you should perhaps address the right people. Conversation, to me is different, you can converse with anyone whereas you have small talk with people you know well.

  • Charolette–I love how you describe both the small talk anchors and how your mother manages small talk in a group like spinning plates.

    The heavy weights can be real conversation killers. If I get the sense that they really don’t want to talk with me, I will graciously back out of the conversation. However, if they simply lack conversation skills, I’ll try a little harder with the open-ended questions, “tell me about that” extensions and interjections that encourage them to tell more because I am interested. I’ve also found that friendly, open body language (pleasant expression, leaning in a bit, mirroring them subtly).