Hold the Small Talk at Parties: Connect with Authenticity
It’s easy to get trapped in boring small talk at parties or events. But don’t let your conversation stop there; you may be missing
an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with others.
Small talk produces small rewards. It’s easy, but generally of little value. It may fill silences, but it’s unlikely to establish a human connection. On the other hand, meaningful conversation has an emotional component. And that may have a positive impact on your health.
According to research conducted by the University of Arizona and noted in an article by the Wall Street Journal: “People who have more substantive conversations with others report a greater sense of well-being than those who engage in small talk.” The study found that “the happy life is social rather than solitary and conversationally deep rather than superficial.”
It’s never easy, suggests Sue Shellenbarger in the article; it must be learned: “The ability to draw others into meaningful conversations can determine whether people want to get to know you, or remember you at all.”
To be meaningful to your conversational partner, you need to show warmth and sincere interest. Above all, you should be authentic.
For example, instead of talking about the weather or asking tedious questions about the wine, you might begin with a probing question such as, “What are you working on that excites you?” or, “What do you love most about your work?” Yes, it may fall flat, Shellenbarger warns, but it’s worth the risk.
Long-term friendships can start here!