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Nicola Fisher


Ways to elevate from small talk to medium and even high talk?

I’m not very good at small talk. It may be an Introvert/INFP thing. I prefer deeper conversations. I find them much easier.


    1. Ignore the crowd

    This is one of my ice breaker techniques at networking or social events. I’ve had the most interesting conversations with the person who was standing alone.

    Chris, my husband, and I once attended a networking event. Because he's blind and we had Bamber, his Guide Dog, we stood where there was a space. There was a crush of people in the middle of the narrow room which was difficult to navigate. No-one approached us. It was very sad. If circumstances were different and I didn't know Chris, he would have been the person standing alone that I talked with.

    2. I like your tie

    If I spotted a man wearing a quirky tie, I would use 'I like your tie' as my opening gambit. There was always a story behind the tie. A Christmas present from a daughter, a hobby or interest, a club or association.

    3. Be a listener

    Let the other person talk. Leave silences and gaps. Eventually any small talk will peter out. When you're a good listener, people will tell you allsorts of amazing things!

    4. Ask why

    Networking events are notorious for questions like 'what do you do?'. If you get stuck on a question like this, once you've had a response, ask the other person 'why' they do what they do.

    5. Play roulette

    I once attended a networking event hosted in a large room at a casino. I got stuck with a guy talking about cement. He gave a monologue for 10 minutes about the ins and outs of the business. Sometimes you can't rescue a conversation like this. I made my excuses and went to play roulette with £20. I didn't win but had a lot of fun, and a much better evening.

    6. Be prepared

    Have a list - mental or otherwise - of opening gambits, topics, and unusual subjects. Depending on the circumstance, sometimes I'll ask a question like, 'what do you think about life on other planets?'. I like to throw something unexpected into the mix.

    7. Be yourself

    Talk about what's important to you, what you love. It may not always work but, by sharing something more personal about you, the other person might reciprocate.

    8. Connect

    People often resort to small talk because there's no connection between them and someone else. They're simply not on the same wavelength. When you meet someone who is, it's much easier to abandon the small talk. Look for people with whom you feel some affinity.

    9. Talk about your partner

    If all else fails, I mention my husband and share his story. The tale of a blind woodturner usually turns the conversation around.

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