February 8, 2006

News & Opinion: Small Talk -- Practice Makes Perfect

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 5:14 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

I'm always in awe of those who have perfected the art of small talk. The people who can make it seem as casual as a conversation with your best friend.
Fast Company has an interview posted with Debra Fine, who wrote The Fine Art of Small Talk a few years back. In the interview, she shares a few tips on small talk. Here's a piece of it:
FC: What do you say first?
Fine: A good conversationalist has to assume the burden of other people's comfort. If I forget your name, whose problem is that? It's uncomfortable for me, but your comfort comes first, so I say, "You know, I forgot your name, and I'm embarrassed."
FC: What are some good icebreakers?
Fine: My favorite, if I've met you before, is: "Bring me up to date on your life."

She tells people to be sincere and show an interest. You can read the rest here.
You can also check out another author's tips here.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.