Small talk is way more important in life than most would think.
Some think business is all about numbers. Yes, numbers are important, but before numbers, it is people that have to connect. They have to trust each other and build up a relationship to do business together. You have to master small talk to build trust confidently.
Gentlemen, you see the girl. The woman of your dreams. Gorgeous, long brown hair, in a casual conversation with some random guy at a party. Smiling. You look at her. You get attracted instantly. You want her to smile at you as she smiles at that other guy. You want to enthrall her. You want to show her how great of a guy you are. How fearless and yet witty and caring you are.
At that moment from where you stand, the only way to shine seems to be to walk up to her and start with the best possible remark. You have to initiate small talk.
You move into action
While you walk through the room passing by delightfully small talking guests, you strive to think of the wittiest of witty remarks.
“I seem to have lost my phone number. Can I have yours?” No, no, it’s too ‘out there’.
“Would you grab my arm, so I can tell my friends I’ve been touched by an angel?” It’s too “#meetoo”.
Yeah, I’ve got the right one!
“Somebody call the cops because it’s got to be illegal to look that good!” That’s the one! It shows ease, admiration, and respect. Yeah, alright!
Anxiety is crawling in
So you keep on walking towards her. Then with every step, a new doubtful thought pops into your mind.
“Small talk is not my forte.”
“I haven’t spoken in the last 20 minutes, will I use the right volume? Isn’t my throat dried out a bit?”
“Timing is important with this line. Where should I pause? And for how long?”
By the time you get close to her, your heart beats like a drum and your thoughts are racing around every possible scenario how you can mess up this one line.
She notices you and looks at you in anticipation.
Moment of truth
You stand there, staring at her. Being unable to put on a casual smile, with a serious face you open your mouth.
“Somebody call the cops…” pause… staring… pause… staring, then just before you want to drop the punchline of “because it’s got to be illegal to look that good” With true fear in her eyes she bursts out “Why? What happened? Is somebody hurt?”
And you know that your one and only chance to give the impression of a confident, witty man… is gone.
What just happened?
Three “F”-s emerged:
False Anticipated expectation
Flawed assumption – They’re the one I want
Before checking if she was good for you, you just assumed she was. What if you don’t like the way she speaks or laughs? What if she doesn’t like your hobbies? These are legitimately important areas, that you want to find out before you drop your charm bomb. Are you sure you will want to spend more than 5 minutes with her only because of her gorgeous hair and lovely smile?
Instead of assuming she is the girl of your dreams, go there with curiosity. Looking forward to finding out what kind of person she is. Only then make the decision to go further down the dreamgirl assumption road.
False Anticipated expectation – They want me to be the hotshot
You think she really looks for a guy, who has to be witty and always saying the right things in the right way? That guy doesn’t exist. Do you want to be that guy? You have to fake your way there, but beware, you can’t keep up that image for too long. Eventually, it will turn out who you really are. But is it really that big of a problem? What if her real expectation is to find someone who is lovely and thoughtful. And not witty at all.
Find the quality in yourself that you love the most and find the right person for that quality. Don’t try to be the person that she is looking for. Be yourself and you look for the person who values your true being. You’d be amazed how many people would find you interesting if you gave them the chance to get to know the true you.
Faux Delivery – I have to act out perfectly
If you are having the adrenaline rush, don’t expect the best performance from yourself. Coming up with a line, perfect in your head, then delivering it flawlessly… you have to be a professional actor to do that right.
Forget the well-polished line. That will not be the tool that sells. You know what was my first liner to my dance teacher when during a party I approached her while having some rest? I turned to her and said, “You dance well.” No witty twists and stories to amaze her. Only a simple sentence. Why did that work? Because if there is a good vibe between the two of you, you only need a simple icebreaker. A conversation starter. From then on, it’s her turn to decide if she’s in or out.
And one more thing
All the above are rooted in the missing initial step you want to do before anything else.
The 3-second rule
If you don’t want to build up the flawed assumption, false anticipated expectation, or have a faux delivery. Then there is only one thing you have to do:
Act within 3 seconds. Don’t overthink, calculate or plan scenarios, just act. Break the ice, don’t melt it. No matter how lame you will think your opening line was in hindsight, any opening line is better than no opening at all. Step up there and talk. The magical effect of the 3-second rule will amaze you. And your reward will be an engaging, colorful small talk that is the start of building a relationship.
How does it apply to business?
You think it is all about pick-up lines?
Believe it, or not, all the above-mentioned principles can be applied in business. Whenever you are looking for prospects these principles work.
You want to work with the client or partner that fits your needs – you need to have the right assumptions
You want to make sure that what you deliver is what they need – check if your anticipated expectation is correct. What do they really expect from you?
Finally, you have to be natural and find joy in those conversations. You have to have a sincere delivery. People want to make business with easy going, but trustworthy people. You having the adrenaline rush is not what they are looking for. You have to find a way to remain confident and relaxed even when the hotshots are around.
Every business is people business
The good news is, it can be learned how to connect with people. How to build up trust and get your prospects to become your clients.
We will try our best to deliver you what you want to know about small talk. Let me know your email address below, to inform you about the coming events so you can remain updated.
Learn to Smalltalk
Not everyone is a natural born talker. Still the skill of casual smalltalk can be learned.
Want to learn how to engage in a conversation with a new business partner and even enjoy it?
Want to learn the first steps towards a closed deal?
Subscribe to get informed about our Smalltalk trainings.