Many years ago, when I started my career, I often found myself a little stressed when networking with others. I was insecure, yet wanted others to “discover me”. I was nervous and somewhat embarrassed.
This mental state of mind made me talk too much and not really think about what I was saying… and this is where it can get a little “dangerous”.
When I met people for the first time, I often said things that portrayed me as a different person than who I really am…. It was hard to form the business relationships I wanted with them, as these were the people I felt most nervous with.
As the years passed by I got more confident, I knew myself and my strengths better and learned how to communicate my needs and also learned to read people and situations better… (Experience is a blessing!)
Successful small talk
Let’s face it- Breaking the ice and starting a small talk is never really comfortable. There is a new person in front of us, maybe even a few of them which we want to impress to some extent and yes, hope not to be rejected.
The small talk’s role is to build a positive rapport and a good foundation for the relationship and get to know one another a little more. It is also about assessing if the person is someone we would like to get to know further. It is preferred to keep the conversation positive and fun, finding mutual grounds and agree on things.
Now, there are many topics to talk about: Work place, family, vacations, hobbies, mutual friends, the event you are at, weather, ideas shared, town of birth, news, jocks and the list is longgggg!
However some topics may be inappropriate for a first meeting when we still don’t really know one another.
So here is a list of “Don’ts” in a first small talk:
Controversial topics: Religion, politics, sexual orientation, racism, and salary
Some topics may trigger people in a negative way, try to avoid them on a first small talk. These are controversial topics such as: religion, politics and sports (supporting an opposite sides may be taken seriously by some people) sexual orientation, racism, salary, prices and more.
Gossip and talk bad about others
If someone is talking bad about others there is no guarantee he or she won’t do the same about you, do they? Insulting others, gossips and patronising others take the trust factor away from you.
Don’t start off selling
The biggest networking mistake is selling before you get to know one another. You and most people buy from people they know, like and trust- so be that person. Get to know them, create trust and then sell!
“I”,& “ME” syndrome
Most people enjoy sharing their thoughts, ideas and talk about themselves. Be a good listener and find interest in others rather than talking about yourself too much. Praise yourself in the right amount and make room for others to talk as well.
Don’t overtake the conversation
Conversation is like a ping pong where both sides should speak. Don’t take all the focus only to yourself and let others finish their sentence before you speak up. This will show a respect and make the other side feel comfortable next to you.
*** These are general guidelines which may change from one interaction to another. Use your intuition to sense the person you are talking with to create good conversation environment!
Share your stories with me- Have you had a bad experience during a small talk? Would you like to add more to the list?
I am eager to hear from you- Comment below this article!
Network your way to success!
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