Small Talks. Turn Boring Phrases Into an Interesting Conversation

3. 26. 2016

People are the best source of information. Although the Internet abounds with answers to almost every question, it is best to discover interesting events, valuable advice, experience, and news live. However, conducting a meaningful conversation is sometimes harder than it seems.

Small talkEncounters and forced conversation with strangers can be stressful. There are many possible circumstances – at a wedding, in the elevator, at a job interview, at a party and on other diverse occasions. It is often the case that when someone wants to be friendly and start a conversation, he or she receives only a terse answer in response. Alternatively, one may be approached in conversation, but simply cannot comprehend the initiated topic. This is then followed by an awkward silence. How does one avoid this? Just learn a few rhetorical ploys with which to master the art of conversation.

Narratives Wanted

Are you going to utter small talk? Forget it – poorly started "conversations" are followed by even worse. A typical example is the obligatory "How are you?" And the answer: "Fine." A varied response could even take the enquirer by surprise. If you really want to know more, ask for a narrative. Try to formulate the question so that it corresponds to your interest, such as: "Did anything important recently happen to you at work?"

Parents encounter on a daily basis curt replies from their children. But observe the difference if you ask a schoolboy, "How was school?" compared to the more stimulating question, "What was the most interesting thing that happened at school today?" or "What was the best part of your day?" The first question does not even force the pupil to think about the answer and so you will probably hear: "Okay." With the second or third question, there is already the hope that the child will share a specific event. The same applies to adults.

Avoid Mirroring

A common factor of a meaningless conversation is the phenomenon called 'mirroring'. Although psychologically this phenomenon is important to manifest empathy and understanding, it is a real killer of any meaningful communication. How can such a conversation develop?

A: “The weather's nice today.”
B: “Yes, it's really beautiful outside.”

This is the correct and adequate response, complying with social etiquette, but totally paralyzing the possibilities of any further development of the conversation. What about trying a bit of provocation? An absurd answer often breaks the proverbial ice and supports the continuation of the conversation.

B: “Captain Scott and his party surely thought the same thing, just before they froze to death... I would not have wanted to be in their shoes.”

Replies That Are Not Boring

Do not look for any intricacies in a conversation. The more spontaneous you are, the better. Even a small slip is often more entertaining to conversationalists than polite phrases. At least you can laugh together and maybe throw in some other past events to relate. A simple step to avoid boring mirroring and predictable reactions are simply to ignore the question and suggest a completely new topic.

What about instead of replying to...
A: “How was the flight?”
B: “Fine, thank you.”

A: “I'm still waiting for the airline which dares to sell tickets priced according to the size and weight of each passenger.”

A witty answer, isn't it? And that's what it's all about. Not being afraid to speak and to be abound with ideas. Feel free to ignore a question and steer the conversation in the direction you want it to go. You will see that the other party in the conversation is grateful and will appreciate the variety.

Need more information? MBA study program has more answers - see the module: Communication.

Enjoy original conversations!

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