Ep51: Surviving Small Talk

Most people dread it. Some people avoid it at all costs. We’ll skip the networking events, duck behind a big display in the store, or avoid eye contact in a public place. What am I talking about? Small talk. It’s something we all have to do, but we almost universally despise.

Our question this episode: what can we do to make small talk less painful and more productive?

The inspiration from this episode comes from a recent presentation I gave at the MIT Media Lab. I was talking about being an introvert in an extroverted environment, and part of my message was about the value of small talk. And while I’ve made mention of that topic in previous talks and writing, the inclusion of it in my presentation was also inspired by a Sept 17 New York Times article titled, “The Awkward but Essential Art of Office Chitchat.” Since small talk is a huge part of the interpersonal communication we all engage in every day, I thought it was worth sharing a few thoughts on the topic here.

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Resources for Further Learning

The Awkward but Essential Art of Office Chitchat | The New York Times
Small Talk Savvy (and more!) with Melissa Wadsworth | The Introvert Entrepreneur Podcast
What to Say When You Talk About Yourself | The Introvert Entrepreneur Blog