How to Use Small Talk to Build a Connection and How Listening is Sexy!
Have you ever wondered how to use small talk to build a connection with the singles you meet? Most singles I talk to hate small talk! However, you can’t build a connection with someone new without starting with small talk!
I can hear you sigh at the thought of yet another inane, meaningless conversation with a stranger. You might prefer to visit the dentist instead! However, the good news is that small talk can lead to meaningful conversations!
What is Small Talk?
The dictionary definition of small talk is:
noun –polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions.
When you meet someone new you don’t want to start with a political or religious debate, nor do you want to share your deepest, darkest fears!
A recent study looked at small talk and deeper conversations. The results were interesting – they found that small talk had a neutral effect – it was neither good or bad for you. They also found that small talk set the foundation for deeper conversations that made actually made people happy.
Therefore, it’s time to change your outlook! Small talk is the chance to build a connection with new people, make you happier and open yourself up to possibility.
It is a simple skill that will take you a long way in the dating world. Those simple superficial conversations can lead to you developing long-lasting friendships, get you a date or a partner. The art of conversation is a skill that adds to every area of your life.
Follow This Simple Strategy
1. Ask good questions.
2. Build off the answer they give you.
3. Make sure you connect to their answer in a personal way.
1. Always Read the Cues
In any conversation, the person you are talking to will give you all sorts of spoken and non-spoken cues. Pay attention. Did you know that 93% of communication is non-verbal and comes from your posture and tone of voice? Never underestimate how much you can pick up by being observant.
Notice if they are losing the interest and change the conversation. It is important to avoid monologues and hogging the conversation as neither builds a connection.
2. Don’t Put Them to Sleep
Stay away from the boring, the inappropriate or sharing too much information. You don’t want to know everything about someone you just met, especially the bad stuff. Be ready with things you are comfortable talking about – maybe something current in the news, music, movies you have seen or stuff you are really passionate about.
3. Open-Ended Questions
The type of questions you ask will make all the difference. Avoid closed questions where you will only get a yes or a no response. Dead-end questions lead to dead-end answers! You know, you say something, they answer and then silence! No-one wants a continual stream of questions and awkward silences.
The same applies to using questions that are over asked. These questions get standard closed answers and are generally answered on default.
For example: ‘How was your day.’ Most people will answer ‘fine or good or busy.’ Or you could remind them of their awful day, which could end up with you being on the receiving end of a rant about how bad it was!
This question is asked all the time and most people realise that people aren’t really asking them how they are, so they go with a standard answer.
I want to show you another example from a recent coaching session based on real conversations that didn’t work:
The guy asked – ‘How was the festive season’. The girl didn’t respond to the question and went on to say something else. Around Christmas, this is over asked and people switch off.
A better question would have been – How was your Christmas? 37 C must be so different to the snowy Christmas you are used to? How did you find it, especially being away from family?
The girl was from a cold country and this question shows genuine interest in her and her circumstances. It was not closed nor the standard Christmas question. This question would get a more meaningful response about the things that mattered to the girl.
It is a good idea to know the types of questions you can ask ahead of time.
That way you can come away knowing something about the person other than just the type of coffee they enjoy or what they think about the weather. It is about getting the person to open up and share something that matters to them.
I know when I run dating events, people will stay with the standard boring questions like – Is this your first time at speed dating? This is a pointless question and one you are likely to judge them on – especially if they have come too often without any success.
Are you here with your friends? Or Where do you live? Both of these questions can seem creepy to a girl. Girls always want to feel safe and these questions don’t have that end result and they definitely don’t build a connection.
Asking what someone does for work or on the weekends is overused and doesn’t allow you to stand out. The other downfall of these questions is people will make a judgement of you based on what you do on your weekends and for a living.
You would be better to ask what someone loves or is passionate about. Everyone has something and this is much more likely to lead to a good conversation and a connection between the two of you.
I want to give you one more example here:
Guy – ‘What are you looking forward to this year’.
Girl – ‘I am excited about a trip to America. Omg, I am speaking in Vegas, doing a course in Seattle and catching up with a friend in Florida.’
Guy – ‘What makes you decide to go there’.
In this example, the girl had told the guy why she was going to the various places so his answer showed her he really wasn’t listening to her. Instead of this building connection, it would totally put her off.
A better response would have been – ‘Wow. That sounds amazing! I have so many questions but I would love to know how you managed to score speaking in Vegas and what you are going to speak about’.
This answer shows genuine interest and builds connection as it is about what the girl was excited about and what mattered to her. Remember everyone wants to be listened to and if you want to have a better conversation that will build a connection between you both, listen more than you speak.
4. Focus on Listening
It is a weird fact, but for someone to think you are interesting you need to first be interested in THEM It sounds contradictory but it is true. I love the quote from How to Win Friends and Influence People – ‘You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.’
Listening is a skill that everyone needs to learn. It is common for people to ask a question but not really listen to the answer as they are just working out what they are going to say next. When you take the time to listen to what they are saying you are able to ask questions that are meaningful, that will create a good conversation that will ultimately build a connection between the two of you.
For women, a good conversation is the ultimate in sexy!
Singles will often fall into one of two traps that don’t work when they meet someone new.
- Selling themselves.
This is feeling that they need to ‘sell’ themselves to the other person. What do I mean by this? It’s when you tell the person you’re on a date with, all their perceived benefits rather than have a conversation that flows back and forth
- Interviewing their date
Many singles believe that they don’t want to waste time so they will ask a list of questions to make sure the other person meets their criteria. Dating is not an interview and it shouldn’t feel like one either. I know that you don’t want to ‘waste’ time but when you take this approach, you will end up wasting more time and missing out on quality singles. You may feel like you are saving time but in fact, you are putting up a barrier up. The interviewing process repels and does not get the result that you are looking for. When you interview someone, it gives off a totally different energy and comes across as judgemental rather than light-hearted and fun.
The next time you meet someone new remember the research before you ask someone how their day was! No-one looks back on a first meeting and remembers a boring conversation! Whereas, when you allow small talk to lead you to a deeper conversation you will be surprised where it can take you and it will make you stand out for all the RIGHT reasons.
Here’s to your success.