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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

small TALK

As I meet numerous people in any given week, I often find myself bored with the small talk portion of the introduction. A normal introduction usually happens like this. We exchange names, titles and company information. Often times business cards change hands and a quick moment is spent studying the card to make sure you heard their name, company and title correctly.

Next comes the list of questions that is becoming boring to me and I want to freshen it up a little. The list usually consists of:

How long have you been at XYZ company? If it's a short time you ask what they did before.
Then you ask if they are from wherever they are from. In Colorado Springs, chances are they aren't native so you get a lot of "No I'm from _____" answers.

At this point I begin praying I'm familiar with their state or city so I can talk about that next.

If not I begin to scramble for talking points like weather or upcoming holidays. On Fridays the "Are you ready for the weekend?" question is always a winner or on Monday the "so did you have a good weekend?" works well too.

Mostly I'm hating the fact that it would be rude to cut the conversation off. However, I often perceive the other person hates small talking too, but now we are both stuck in this conundrum of nothing to say, but nowhere better to go say something else.

I found this article a little helpful and am poised to use some of the tips it gives, but would like something better yet. Any one have any good ideas on how to make better small talk? What's worked for you? What hasn't worked? How do you go from surface level conversation to just beneath the surface level conversation without prying or interrogating?