How to Make Small Talk

Making small talk is an important skill that anyone can master. Read the tips below to learn how to become a master of the art of small talk.

  • Listen more than you talk [source: Roberts].
  • Start a conversation with confidence. Walk up to the other person, smile, and confidently introduce yourself. You might try saying something like, "John Smith? Jane Doe. Good to see you again." [source: Careerbuilder]
  • Make eye contact. Little is as disturbing as speaking to someone who's looking around the room for someone more important to speak to. [source: Roberts, Careerbuilder]
  • Think of possible topics of conversation before going to a function [source: Careerbuilder]. Try to focus on generic, inoffensive topics, such as the weather, the food being served, etc.
  • Encourage the other person to talk by asking leading questions. Remember, people love to talk about themselves. [source: Roberts]
  • Keep the conversation short, unless the other person wants to continue talking [source: Roberts].
  • Take business cards that others offer you. Read the cards carefully, and then put them away in your wallet, handbag or pocket. This will show that you value the card, and by extension the person who gave it. [source: Careerbuilder]
  • Listen and watch before joining a conversation. You don't want to ruin the dynamics with an inappropriate comment. [source: Careerbuilder]
  • Be sure you have something interesting to contribute to the conversation. Keeping up with current events and popular culture will help give you something to talk about.
  • Change the subject if it seems like your conversation partner is ill at ease with something that's been said [source: Roberts].