wikiHow to Be Good at Small Talk

Small talk is a very important part of socializing and meeting new people. But it's not always easy to be charming and easy during a conversation with a new potential friend or someone you may need to impress.


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    Control the tone of your voice. All of your feelings will show through your voice. The cracking of your voice or a slur of words can scare away someone new. So instead of risking your nerves coming out through your voice, practice in the mirror, or try to calm yourself down right before you engage in small talk.
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    Keep it light. Small talk is supposed to be about small topics. Don't ask loaded questions that are scary and too "deep" for the conversation. Keep the topics of things like weather and school/work.
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    Smile. Being a happy person is part of being appealing and pleasant. Practice smiling in the mirror. By smiling, you can make other people smile.
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    Keep an open mind. Accept what the other person says and their opinions on the topics discussed. The last thing you want to do is get into an argument while you were only trying to have a nice, friendly light conversation.
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    Compliment them. Make them feel good about themselves. Start with telling them they look nice, or that they are funny. That will put them in a good mood which will make your conversation nicer and easier.
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    Learn to listen. So as you start to strike up some of those awkward conversations around the room, keep those three words in mind. All it takes is a simple step toward the person, and the most broad question you can think of, “So what do you do?” Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Other times, when people don’t talk quite as much, you may need to have a few more broad questions in your back pocket.
    • Focus on actually listening to what the person is saying while the other person is talking. People can subconsciously pick up on the fact that you’re not listening, and be turned off immediately. Actually listening to what they have to say not only shows them that you’re genuine, and it also makes them feel important (your number one goal in any social situation).
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    Relate. Now, they are finishing up the point they are making, and it’s about to be your turn to speak. Since you have been listening the whole time, this next part should be easy. Relate. Find ways in which you relate to the things they were talking about. Maybe you are from the same area, work in the same field, and share the same point of view. No matter the reason, relating to the person is what forms the foundation for a stronger relationship with them. You are showing them that you have things in common.
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    Repeat. Usually, the person will then respond to you by relating also. This shows that they have come to realize that they have come upon someone who they can be friends with (This is an example of how the Three Pillars for a strong friendship are applied, as discussed in my previous blog “Making Friends that Stick”). If you feel that the topic that you have just related to is coming to a close, then it is time to go to the next step.
    • Repeat back to the person what they have told you, but in your own words. This not only shows how well you have been listening, but also makes the person feel more important. Moreover, repeating back to them also gives them the chance to further elaborate on the point, and give you even deeper reasons and emotions to relate to.


  • Laugh.
  • Be willing to meet new people.
  • Smile.
  • Joke.
  • Be Yourself.
  • Be happy and make your voice sound calm. Know what you are going to say. Make gestures and try to make your listener laugh if you can. However the most important thing is think about what you will say first. You might say something that is not funny or that is hurtful. Make the topic interesting and make sure your listener gets a chance to talk.


  • Don't try to change yourself for others.
  • Don't try to force a relationship out of it.
  • Don't come on too strong.

Article Info

Categories: Conversation Skills