Small talk can seem like a chore, especially if you're not very good at it. But you can get better with a few simple techniques. Here are four ways to improve your conversation skills . . .
1. Ask open-ended questions, not yes-or-no questions. It gives you more to go on, so it's easier to ask follow-up questions.
2. Tell stories. Look for opportunities to drop in an anecdote. Like if they mention they're planning to go scuba diving on vacation, jump in with a story about the time YOU tried it. Things like that create a quick bond and make it easier to talk more.
3. Pay attention to people who are good at small talk. Like friends, or even talk show hosts. Think about the type of questions they ask, and how they move the conversation in different directions.
4. If the conversation isn't going anywhere, be honest. If you find yourself just talking about the weather, it's okay to say you HATE small talk. Then ask if they want to talk about something more substantial. Just make sure you have a good topic ready.
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