We’re a year and a half into this pandemic, and a lot of people are feeling pretty rusty when it comes to socializing. So here are five tips to help you make small talk.
1. Assume that people want to talk to you. After months of social isolation, odds are pretty good that the person you’re talking to is just as eager to make a connection.
2. Start by having something to say. Just saying “hey” to someone is hardly an icebreaker. Try something more involved, like “Are you having a good time?” or “How do you like being back in the office?”
3. Be present. Put your phone away and give them your full attention.
4. Don’t bring up controversial topics. This should be obvious, but if you’re making small talk, it’s important to avoid polarizing topics like politics.
5. Don’t talk too much about yourself, or the other person. There’s an unofficial “rule” that says people love to talk about themselves, and that asking them questions about their life is the secret to good conversations. But it’s not true for everyone. People don’t want to feel like they’re being interrogated. It should feel like a conversation, not an interview.