Preparing For Small Talk

Preparing For Small Talk

If you often find yourself participating in small talk about topics you have no interest in or have already discussed to exhaustion, the solution may be asking people unexpected, thought-provoking questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no.

It’s a good idea to have stock questions so you don’t have to think them up in the moment.

@makidd524

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Communication

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Small Talk Questions About Work
  • If you weren’t working here, what would you probably be doing right now?
  • How did you become a [job title]?
  • What’s the craziest thing a boss has ever asked you to do?
  • If you were guaranteed to be successful, what job would you want?
  • What was your first job? Did you like it?
  • What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? How about the worst?
Small Talk Questions About Entertainment
  • Are you reading any good books right now? How about shows?
  • Are there any apps on your phone that you can’t live without?
  • If you could only watch one genre of movies for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • Do you have any podcast suggestions for my commute?
  • What’s the last movie that made you cry? Or laugh aloud?
  • Who is your favorite person to follow on Instagram?
Small Talk Questions About Food
  • If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  • What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  • What’s your go-to comfort food?
  • Are there any foods that you absolutely would not eat?
  • What are the best cheap eats around here?
  • Does your family have any “secret” or famous recipes?
Small Talk Questions About Travel
  • What’s the best “hidden gem” around here?
  • If you could fly anywhere for free, where would you go?
  • What’s the coolest road trip you’ve ever been on?
  • Where’s the last place you traveled? What did you do there?
  • Do you prefer action-packed vacations or relaxing on the beach?
  • What’s the next trip you have planned?
Small Talk Questions About Someone’s Life
  • Where did you live before this? What are the biggest differences you see?
  • What did you think you were going to be growing up?
  • Do you have any hidden talents or surprising hobbies?
  • What’s the most unbelievable thing that’s ever happened to you?
  • Who’s the most important role model or mentor you’ve had in your life?
  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Random Small Talk Questions
  • If you were in charge of picking the eighth wonder of the world, what would you choose?
  • What do you wish you had placed in a time capsule 15 years ago?
  • What’s the strangest compliment you’ve ever gotten?
  • If you could teach a college course on any subject you want, what would it be?
  • What would be your ideal superpower?
  • If you could have any type of animal for a pet, what would it be?

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RELATED IDEAS

Better At Conversations
  1. Research has found that “Hello, how are you?” is the most effective conversation starter, but you can use context, like impressions or the location, in its place.
  2. Bring up topics, look for ideas and ask questions that spark energy or get the person excited.
  3. The eyebrow raise is what we do when we hear or see something interesting. It clues you in to a topic that they might like discussing.
  4. Stories are great to hold attention, instigate emotion and are more easily remembered. Keep in mind your favorite ones, the ones that can backup claims and how you can answer with anecdotes.
  5. When we share something, we often want someone else to share something. Give back as much as you get.
  6. Don’t be a conversational narcissist. Ensure you do equal parts talking and listening.
  7. Don’t try to constantly outdo others or their stories. Let people enjoy their moment and celebrate with them, don’t one-up them.

6

IDEAS

  • The odds you will get hit.
  • The average consequences of getting hit.
  • The tail-end consequences of getting hit.

The first two are easy to understand. It’s the third that’s hardest to learn, and can often only be learned through experience.

The big technical leap of the 1930s could not have happened without the devastation of the depression. However, there is a limit to stress-induced innovation: The foundations of the economy itself should remain intact to support new ideas and innovations.

This balance between a disturbance in the economy, while the foundations of the economy remain intact, has only happened a few times in modern history: the period from 1930 to 1945 and in 2020.

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