What is Small Talk?
If we check Wikipedia, we can learn that small talk is an informal type of conversation that doesn't cover or address any serious topic. It's a casual conversation for the sake of the casual conversation.
If we check the urban dictionary's definition of small talk, it's a useless and unnecessary conversation, which is used in order to fill the silence in an awkward situation.
Regardless of how you define small talk, it's an important part of communication, as it is a social skill. That's why you need to know the art of small talk. Of course it is better when you have mutual topics to discuss, but you know that it rarely happens when your conversation-mate is a stranger.
While you may claim that online chatting has changed everything, it is hard to start chatting with someone without small talk questions. You want to start your acquaintance online asking what they think about the large hadron collider or the possibility of Bergman influencing "I Spit On Your Grave". Let's be honest, those topics are for the discussion with your long-time known friends, but they are definitely not your typical small talk examples.
So, if you want to be successful in online dating or want to avoid feeling lonely and awkward at a party, you need to know how to master small talk. In order to help you, we've collected some tips on making small talk, which we offer you to check out without further ado.
Small Talk Topics
So, how to small talk? You need to learn small talk topics, as not all topics are suitable for small talk. Some topics may confuse you and you may start discussing something that you should avoid in making a small talk. So, let's check out those small talk topics.
No matter how funny it may sound, weather remains your best option for small talk. "Okay, I can understand asking someone about the weather when you are talking offline, but how am I going to ask someone about the weather online? It's nonsense!!!". No, it's not nonsense. As you can ask the person you got acquainted with online about the weather he or she has in his or her town, city or country. It's that simple.
2. Arts and Entertainment
"Wait, but you've said...". In no way, shape or form are we trying to confuse you. Leave the Bergman's influence on "I Spit On Your Grave" for the geeks. But it doesn't mean that you can't talk about popular TV-series or books. You can ask your acquaintance about his or her favorite book or the last movie he or she went to see. However, mind that this conversational topic requires you being in the middle of reading a good book and knowing what is popular nowadays. You can talk about favorite cuisines or restaurants as well.
Latest news is also a great topic, but a tricky one. As we've said, you can easily fall in a topic trap. Pick pleasant or interesting news, like what your possible conversation-mate thinks about mission to Mars or teachers going on strike. But try to avoid controversial topics like religion or politics. You may easily have an argument, instead of a pleasant small talk, having different views on the decision of this or that politician or Christianity's attitude towards LGBT+ people.
Another perfect variant for small talk is work. You can ask your acquaintance about his or her job, whether he or she likes it or not. How long he or she has been working in that field. How he or she got this job. Whether he or she took this job because he or she always wanted to work in that field or he or she just happened to be hired for that work. Think what people usually ask you about your work, and use same questions.
People enjoy talking about hobbies and they are always interested in hobbies of others. So, hobbies can work as an ultimate topic for a small talk. To continue the conversation, you need to read between the lines. If your talk mate says that that was the last time he or she went hiking, be sure to ask why.
Small Talk Questions
Now, you need to learn questions that would help you mastering your small talk. In order to make it easier for you to learn those question, we've divided them into different topics. So, let's check out those small talk questions without further ado.
- If you were in charge of picking the eighth wonder of the world, what would you choose?
- What do you wish you had placed in a time capsule 15 years ago?
- What’s the strangest compliment you’ve ever received?
- If you could teach a college course on any subject you want, what would it be?
- What’s the most out-of-character thing you’ve ever done?
Life Story Questions
- What did you think you were going to be growing up?
- Do you have any hidden talents or surprising hobbies?
- What’s the most unbelievable thing that’s ever happened to you?
- Who’s the most important role model or mentor you’ve had in your life?
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
- If you weren’t working here, what would you probably be doing right now?
- What surprised you the most about your current job?
- What’s the craziest thing a boss has ever asked you to do?
- If you were guaranteed to be successful, what job would you want?
- What’s the best/worst career advice you’ve ever received?
- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
- Are there any foods that you absolutely would not eat?
- What’s something that’s easy to bring in for lunch that isn’t a sandwich?
- What are the best cheap eats around here?
- What’s your favorite restaurant that other people don’t tend to know about?
- Are you reading any good books or shows right now? I’d love some recommendations.
- Are there any apps that you can’t live without?
- If you could only watch one genre of movies for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What’s the book you hated that everyone else loved, and vice versa?
- Who is your favorite person to follow on Instagram?
General Small Talk Tips
While you may get the feeling that after everything above-mentioned, you are aware of how to be good at small talk, there are other things you need to learn. There are general small talk tips that you need to learn in order to be successful in talking with the strangers and avoid awkward situation both online and offline.
1. Open-ended Questions
If you want to be successful at small talk, you need to use open-ended questions. Check out our examples of the questions for small talk once again. As you can see, there are no questions that you can answer "yes" or "no". Questions like that forces your chat-mate to give you a detailed answer, which can then lead you to more questions.
2. Active Listening
Another thing that you definitely need for your small talk success is active listening. Remember we've been talking about reading between the lines? That's why you need active listening when you are having a small talk with a stranger. You won't be able to pick another question without listening carefully to the answers to your questions. While it is quite tempting to tune out, you should avoid that. It will give you the way for relevant questions. All in all, you will sustain an interesting conversation if you are not listening with one ear.
3. Show Your Enthusiasm
If you want to be successful at small talk, you need to show your enthusiasm. The very first thing that you need to do is to put your phone away. You won't be able to practice the previous points when scrolling down your news feed. While you may think that this advice has something to do only with offline conversation, you also need to pay attention to small talk that goes online. Without paying attention, you won't get the text you are reading right and, thus, you won't be able to pick the right question and maintain the conversation. Moreover, showing your enthusiasm will make your chat mate more interested in having a conversation with you. So, put your phone away and focus on the conversation.
Tips on Making Small Talk Sexy
Now, regardless of whether you are talking with a girl online or offline at some speed-dating event, you need to think on how to make small talk sexy. While you might think that you already have some sexy small talk ideas, you really need to check out the following tips, as maintaining a conversation with a woman is an art on its own. Needless to say that it takes more effort to make the conversation sexy without making any mistakes.
1. Know What Bores Her
You've probably have heard about those seminars on "how to make her want you"... well, forget about them, as there is no formula on how to make yourself attractive for the woman. Still, you can easily turn out to be more attractive to her than others if you know the things to avoid while making small talk. The first thing you should avoid is the interview-like conversation. Yeah, you can ask her where she is from and what she does for living, but if you continue the conversation with a series of look-alike dumb questions, she's going to get pretty bored. Stay away from politics and religion, as polar views on those topics may result in you not getting her number.
2. Keep Things Interesting and Engaging
If you want to keep things interesting and engaging for her, you need to talk about things that trigger emotions, as once she gets emotional, your conversation flaws with ease. So, concentrate on topics like childhood memories, traveling, hobbies, passion, interests, favorite songs, and movies. Mind that it should be short and sweet, as she's going to get bored if you continue talking about how much you know on this or that topic.
3. Avoid Too Much Flattery
That's why you should forget about "how to make her want you"-seminars, as there you are going to be told that the more flattery the best. Actually not. If you pay a compliment to her every second, she would feel that something is wrong. Aside from the fact that it may seem that you are only into bedding her as soon as possible, it's a clear signal that you have nothing to say. If you want to make your small talk sexy, you should avoid cheap compliments. Make them when it's suitable.
4. Don't Make It All About You
Another reason to avoid those seminars, as you are going to be told that you need to "convince her that you understand her better than others and that you are her best choice". Well, that's where you can fall into talking too much about yourself. From humble "I do understand" and "I'm keen on that" to bold and unmannerly "If you were dating me..." and "I'm a perfect boyfriend". And it's all about you. And while you may think that you are getting more and more sexy for her, talking about how great you are at this and that, she will really find you narcissistic.
5. Be Yourself
Last but not the least, you don't have to be that "yes"-guy. If you want to make your small talk sexy, you should be yourself. If she says something that you disagree with, don't be shy to say it. If challenging her opinion is within reason, then you should do it. Don't be afraid to be yourself, as playing it too safe in order to win her leads to nothing except losing her upon showing her your true self.