We are not used to taking idle conversations seriously, although they serve as the Foundation for building relationships — both personal and professional. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to communicate easily and freely, especially with unfamiliar people. But it is quite possible to learn!
You may think that talking about the weather is a waste of time and an inevitable evil, but it is very useful. After all, what is idle conversation? This is an easy, pleasant and relaxed communication that helps people to meet and learn a little about each other before developing a relationship.
During this conversation, you can introduce yourself, tell a little about yourself and your interests and find common themes.
Chatter “about nothing” is something like a request to participate in a conversation on a more serious topic of mutual interest. Source
A casual conversation doesn’t have a specific purpose: it doesn’t matter what you’re talking about, the fact that you’re talking to another person at all is important. Such conversations are widespread all over the world and perform an important function — they unite people.
The role of talking about trifles is not trifling: thanks to polite attempts to talk to a stranger, you can translate communication into a friendly and more comfortable.
Idle conversation is a strip of acceleration of the highway. Leaving on the highway, first you follow the acceleration lane, which allows you to safely dial the desired speed, then to merge with the flow of cars.
You can not get on the highway, bypassing the acceleration band – and just can not start a conversation on a serious topic immediately after acquaintance.
“Band acceleration” — the exchange of pleasantries — gives you time to join the flow of communication and find a topic that is interesting to you and your interlocutor. Idle chatter is really a hidden study of people.
During a casual conversation, you do not need to try to defend your opinion and speak on the prepared topics. Your mind should be flexible and alive, ready to respond to any idea or statement of the interlocutor.
Use an opening phrase
So, next to you is a man with a friendly look, clearly located to communicate. Perhaps you have already said Hello, smiled at each other, shook hands and met. Now you need to start a casual conversation to turn this stranger from a stranger to a friend.
Look around and find something to talk about. Any phrase about what is happening around will be a good introduction to a casual conversation. Start with a simple observation.
- “This is the new Chairman of the parents’ Committee, right?»
- “The best speech I’ve ever heard!»
- “And the title of the slowest Elevator in the world goes to… our Elevator!»
- “Looks like it’s starting to rain again. Guess who didn’t bring an umbrella.”
- “Is this a portrait of one of the founding fathers of the Agency?»
Note that all statements are impersonal. That’s the point: with such innocent themes, you can easily engage in communication. You will not be considered tactless or Intrusive person who sticks with personal problems.
Don’t answer in monosyllables
Some people think we should talk as little as possible.
- She: do You come here often?
- He: No.
Now you or your interlocutor must re-invent the opening phrase to start a conversation. And it will last as long as you both have the patience.
Note how often you answer one-word questions that open a conversation. Such avaricious statements (Yes, no, uh-huh) sound impolite and cut communication on a root.
Don’t just say Yes or no, even if the question implies a one-word answer. Add a simple phrase to give your interlocutor food for thought, support and incentive to continue the conversation: “No, I do not think so”; “Yes, I saw him”; “Yes, thank you”; “No, I did not Park here.”
Add to their lines with information about yourself
Open up and share information about yourself is very important for the development of the conversation. Any additional question or fact can turn the conversation in a completely different direction.
As the conversation develops in one way or another, you are sure to find a common theme. Source
- Nice: Great weather today!
- Neil: Exactly! It’s time to walk my puppy on the Embarcadero. Probably a lot of people will come to admire the Bay. You been there?
See how Neil answered the question? He opened up, showing Neil that he didn’t mind continuing the conversation, and giving him new topics to talk about. Then Neil may ask: “Where is the Embarcadero?”, or “What breed is your puppy?” or “can you see the Golden Gate bridge from There?»
To keep the conversation going and get the other person to talk, go beyond the General phrases and tell something interesting about yourself. This will help build trust between you.
Ask open questions
Open questions imply a detailed answer and give the interlocutor an opportunity to Express his opinion.
- “What do you think about the speaker?»
- “When does the ski season open here?»
- “Where are the best women’s clothing stores in this city?»
- “What bait do you fish with?»
- “I don’t know why the jazz club closed?»
Ask the main questions of journalists (what, why, where and how) if you want to get a detailed answer from the interlocutor. So you will learn more interesting information and be able to support the conversation.
Don’t be a bore
The first nightmarish form of boredom is a lengthy lecture. You are asked a simple question about a job or a hobby, and you answer in such detail as if you want to tell everything you know. You take 12 valuable minutes of your life away from your interlocutor, whereas he was probably ready to give you only 45 seconds.
The second killer form of boring is a long and complicated story about yourself. You feel that you have to describe all the events from the beginning and tell in detail what and how you did.
Here are tips on how to get listeners interested (devotees or not) and keep their attention.
- Remember: idle conversation consists of pauses and switching between topics, and not of deep immersion in one topic and discussion of one issue.
- People don’t like long stories. Remember this great truth every time you want to open your mouth. Observe those who can speak briefly and to the point. Make friends with the phrase “in short, then…”.
- Imagine that you play tennis. You are and take it or just resign?
- Get right to the point. Go to it before someone interrupts you.
- Throw the ball to the side of the interlocutor. If you really want to talk in detail about his wonderful adventure, offer to meet for a Cup of coffee later. Give the ball to the interlocutor — he will decide whether to accept your invitation.
- Watch carefully for companion: is not boring is it? If he looks you in the eye, keep talking. But if he looks away, it’s probably time you shut up and give him your word. Learn to determine if you are really being listened to or just waiting for you to finish.
Send nonverbal signals of friendliness and sociability
These rules will help you better manage your nonverbal signals.
- Smile – Genuinely smile when meeting people, otherwise, you will find a gloomy and morose. You can even work out in front of the mirror to understand what facial expressions helps you look friendly and cheerful.
- Genuinely smile when meeting people, otherwise, you will find a gloomy and morose. A casual conversation begins with a smile. Source
- Take an open pose – An open posture is a posture in which your body is turned toward who you are communicating with. Arms and legs are not crossed, head and body are turned to the interlocutor. Straighten your shoulders and turn your feet in his direction. Just don’t stand at attention, or you’ll seem tense. Be at ease.
- Lean in to the interlocutor – During the conversation, lean toward the other person or move closer to him. So you show that you are interested in his words, and demonstrate their sympathy.
- Make eye contact – Get rid of the habit to constantly avert their eyes, to consider their own knees or the ceiling during a conversation. Eye contact helps to focus on the interlocutor, demonstrates attention, openness and friendliness, as well as reports about your responsiveness.
You see an unsmiling face or feel detached and immediately conclude that the person does not want to communicate with you. But perhaps these negative social signals have nothing to do with you. Probably a man just found out that he lost his car keys or that his girlfriend is cheating on him, and you think he’s frowning because of you.
Learn something new about your ego? I should. Perhaps you have a painful ego, so you try to look distant, as if you are busy with something. Or, on the contrary, always watch what impression you make on people. Just in case someone’s looking at you.
In that case, you should remember rule 18/40/60, formulated by psychiatrist Daniel Amen. Here it is:
At 18, you worry about what others will think about you; at 40, you no longer care about their opinion; at 60, you realize that no one thought about you at all.
People have other interesting things to do besides criticize you. But the feeling of embarrassment doesn’t let you know. Because of him, you can not show your natural sociability and goodwill. It’s like being blinded by a spotlight. You are immersed in yourself, so you can not see the interlocutor through the bright light and focus on it.