Small talk can lead to big business and sales. Although starting up a conversation looks like it comes easy to some (myself included), the truth is many people are introverts and have to learn how to be comfortable talking to strangers (me again).
This is my advice if the gift of gab is not a gift.
1. Know a little about a lot of things. I know, how shallow. But if you can speak for just a few minutes about something that interests the other person, they can take over the conversation and all you have to do is listen–which you should without interruption.
2. Find your inner Sherlock Holmes. “Most people look, but they don’t see,” said Sherlock Holmes. Pay attention to details that can provide clues about what to talk about with a person you don’t know well by using your powers of observation. Notice the type of phone they use, what they’re wearing, or the kind of car they drove up in as ideas for conversation starters.
3. Be the center of attention. If you have a hard time talking to strangers, put yourself in a position where others want to talk to you–and approach you first. If you have to stand and say a few words about yourself, have a clever “elevator pitch” that is unique or provocative. Volunteer to help set up, greet, or speak at an event as a way to get people’s attention and catch their interest.