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
GReat content in this episode, really enjoyed it as I find myself having similar issues with “small talk”
Great episode Beth. Really enjoyed it. Love what you say about being OK with small. I noticed a few years ago when having conversations with my neighbour about the weather that there was something enjoyable about that shared experience of the world around us. We lead different lives but there are little points of connection that we have. Same with things like current events and TV, sport etc. It’s a reminder that we are in this moment of time, sharing this tiny little space in this vast universe right now, together. I find something very comforting about that. It can act like a bridge between people. And as long as I let go of any desire to make talk big, it’s lovely to give myself permission to keep things small.
Thanks for this great take on the topic, as always!