We have all been there… smack in the middle of a situation when we’ve had to come up with something to say to someone we didn’t know very well or perhaps not at all. It might have been an attempt to fill the silence during a long elevator ride with a complete stranger… or to chat with a friend of a friend while standing in line at your local grocery store… or to feel less conspicuous while you wait for your friends to arrive at a party.
Small talk creates a path from silence to conversation. It usually takes place between two people who are not familiar with each other’s lives. Some people enjoy small talk. For others, it is anxiety provoking. Some people have a real knack for coming up with great topics for small talk, while other people’s minds go completely blank when they even attempt it.
The best way to prepare yourself for a situation that requires a little small talk is to come up with topics you feel comfortable about discussing with people you may not know, may never meet again, or may end up becoming a new friend. It is usually best to keep small talk light and breezy rather than heavy or emotional