How To Be an Expert at Small Talk

Business Etiquette Tips


1. Become familiar with various topics.

Read newspapers and news magazines to be knowledgeable about world and national events. It helps to stay informed on local news as well as general interest television programs. Become a generalist and know something about a variety of things.  

2. Ask people their opinions.

Before you go to an event, list three or four questions you can ask at the start of a conversation. Always couch these questions in terms of asking a person for his or her opinion. Remember, people love to be asked for their views.  

3. Stay away from controversial topics.

Politics, sex, and religion can be potential argument starters that can backfire on you.  

4. Know about your host(s).

If possible, learn their interests ahead of time. You can ask colleagues or your boss, or if the event is in your host’s home or office, take note of the pictures and other objects for clues.  

5. Listen. Listen. Listen.

Become a great listener by learning to focus on the person who is talking and tune out the other distractions around you. Listening is a sign of respect, and a key component in every conversation.   

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