How to Turn a Small Talk Into Smart Conversation

Learn "how to talk smartly and confidently?" Make yourself approachable, improve your social skills, step into more successful car...

Learn "how to talk smartly and confidently?" Make yourself approachable, improve your social skills, step into more successful career.

Imagine almost any situation in which two or more people are reunited: reception of a wedding, a job interview, two policemen off duty, spending time in a jacuzzi. What do these situations have in common? Most of them involve people trying to talk to each other. But in these very moments where a conversation should improve the encounter, we often fail. We can not think of anything to say.

How to Turn a Small Talk Into Smart Conversation

Or worse, we do a mediocre job when we talk. We stagger through our romantic, professional and social worlds, with the simple goal of not colliding, never considering that perhaps we could rise. We come home sweaty and swollen, and we eat birthday cake in the shower.

How to turn a small talk into smart conversation
We at the headquarters of About what talk we propose to change this. Below we leave some tips for introverts (and everyone else) on how to turn little chats into great ideas in the next situation you have a social obligation involving strangers:

Ask for stories, not answers

One way to go beyond small talk is to ask open-ended questions, to point to things that invite people to tell stories, rather than to give direct answers of a single word.

Instead of ...

  • "How are you?"
  • "How was your day?"
  • "Where are you from?"
  • "What do you do?"
  • "What kind of work do you have?"
  • "What's your name?"
  • " How was your weekend? "
  • " What about? "
  • " Would you like some wine? "
  • " How long have you lived here? "

Try to ...

  • "What is your story?"
  • "What did you do today?"
  • "What is the strangest thing about the place where you grew up?"
  • "What is the most exciting thing that happened to you today at work? "
  • " How did you end up in that kind of job? "
  • " What does your name mean? What would you like it mean? "
  • " What was the best of your weekend? "
  • " What are you looking forward this week? "
  • " Who do you think is the luckiest person in this room? "
  • " To What does this house remind you of? "
  • " If you could teleport yourself by blinking, where would you go now? "

Break the mirror

When a small talk stagnates, it is often due to a phenomenon called "duplication," which acts as a mirror. In our attempts to be educated, we often respond to people's questions directly, by repeating their observations or simply by agreeing to anything they say.

Mirror example:
James: It's a beautiful day! 
John: Yes, it's a beautiful day!

You see? By duplicating James' language and opinion, John has followed the social norm, but he has also paralyzed the discussion and lost a moment of amusement. Instead, John needs to practice the art of interrupting and bringing the dialogue forward:

Non-mirror example:
James: It's a beautiful day! 
John: They say the weather was like that the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. If that actually happened.

You see? Now James and John are talking! Be provocative. The absurd is underestimated.

Skip above expected response

An even better way to break a boring conversation is by jumping over the standard intervention and going somewhere to the next level:

Instead of ...

  • Ron: How was your flight? 
  • Carlos: My trip was good!

  • Beverly: It's hot today. 
  • Gino: Yeah, it's definitely hot.


  • Riz: What's up? 
  • Keil: Hey, what's up?

Try to ...

  • Ron: How was your flight? 
  • Carlos: I would be more intrigued by an airline where the price of your ticket was based on your body weight and IQ.


  • Beverly: It's hot today. 
  • Gino: In this dimension, yes.


  • Riz: What's up? 
  • Keil: Washing your chicken directly makes the bacteria spread all over the place.

Go on, be daring Put head table conversations! Turn little chats into great ideas at the next wedding reception you're forced to attend! You never know what ideas will be worth spreading later.

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