People who are excellent at small talk always use these 9 phrases

Ava Sinclair by Ava Sinclair | June 4, 2024, 4:38 pm

Mastering the art of small talk isn’t as easy as it seems. It’s not just about filling an awkward silence or passing time.

It’s about creating connections, sparking interest, and opening doors to deeper conversations.

People who excel at small talk have a knack for making it look effortless. They’re not just good with words, they’re also good with people. And believe it or not, they often use certain phrases to keep the conversation flowing smoothly.

Let me share with you these 9 phrases that experts in small talk always seem to have up their sleeves.

1) “How’s your day been?”

The art of small talk is all about putting the other person at ease and getting them to open up.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by asking them about their day. It’s a simple, open-ended question that can lead to a variety of responses.

Whether their day has been good or bad, it offers an opportunity for them to share. That sharing can open the door to deeper conversation topics, giving you a chance to better connect with them.

Moreover, by asking about their day, you show genuine interest in them as individuals, which can help build rapport.

Remember, the key to effective small talk isn’t just about talking—it’s also about listening actively and engaging genuinely.

2) “That reminds me of the time when…”

Linking back to their story with one of your own helps to foster a sense of shared experience. It shows that you’re paying attention and actively engaging in the conversation.

I remember once when I was chatting with a new acquaintance at a networking event. She mentioned her recent trip to Italy and how much she fell in love with the quaint Tuscan towns.

Instead of simply nodding along, I said, “That reminds me of the time when I was in Spain, and I was absolutely charmed by the old-world beauty of the small villages too.”

This led to a more robust conversation about our shared love for travel, culture, and history. It not only deepened our connection but also made the conversation far more memorable and enjoyable.

3) “Did you know…”

Keeping the conversation stimulating is a key aspect of effective small talk. One way to do this is by introducing new ideas or information into the conversation.

For instance, if you’re talking about coffee, you could say, “Did you know that Finland consumes more coffee per capita than any other country?”

This can be an interesting tidbit that provides a new angle to the conversation, and could even lead to more in-depth discussions about travel, food culture, or personal coffee preferences.

Remember to keep it relevant to the conversation and the person you’re talking to. The aim is to engage and intrigue, not to show off your knowledge.

4) “I really admire that about you…”

Compliments, when genuine and well-placed, can instantly warm up a conversation.

People usually appreciate being recognized for their strengths or positive qualities.

But the trick is to make your compliment specific and sincere. Instead of just saying “You’re great,” you might say something like, “I really admire your ability to stay calm under pressure. I could learn a lot from you.”

This not only shows appreciation, but it also indicates that you’ve noticed something unique about them, which can make them feel valued and understood.

Just remember to keep your compliments genuine to avoid coming across as insincere or flattering.

5) “What do you think about…?”

Engaging someone in small talk doesn’t mean you need to avoid all substantive topics. In fact, a well-placed question about their thoughts or opinions can add depth to the conversation.

For example, you might ask, “What do you think about the new book by that author we were talking about?” or “What’s your take on the current art exhibition in town?”

These questions show that you value their opinion and are interested in hearing their thoughts. Plus, it invites them to share more about their interests and experiences, enhancing the connection between you both.

Remember to keep it light and avoid controversial or divisive topics, especially when you’re still getting to know each other.

6) “I can relate to that…”

Empathy is a powerful tool in any conversation, including small talk.

When someone shares something with you, responding with “I can relate to that” shows that you understand their feelings or experiences on a deeper level.

Maybe they’re talking about the stress of balancing work and family life, or the excitement of starting a new project.

By saying you can relate, you’re acknowledging their feelings and creating a bond through shared experience.

However, it’s important to be genuine. If you can’t truly relate to what they’re saying, it’s better to express sympathy or understanding instead. Authenticity is key in building meaningful connections.

7) “I’ve always struggled with…”

Opening up about our challenges or vulnerabilities can be a powerful way to deepen a conversation. It shows that you’re human, with all the complexities and struggles that come with it.

For instance, in a conversation about hobbies, I might say, “I’ve always struggled with playing musical instruments. I tried learning the guitar once, but I could never quite get the hang of it.”

This not only adds depth to the conversation, but it also invites the other person to share their own experiences or struggles.

It can create a sense of camaraderie and mutual understanding, making the conversation more engaging and meaningful.

8) “Tell me more about…”

Expressing genuine curiosity about the other person’s life, interests, or experiences is an excellent way to keep a conversation engaging.

Prompting them to delve deeper into a topic they’ve touched on shows that you’re not merely making conversation – you’re truly interested in what they have to say.

You might say, “Tell me more about your hiking trip to the Rockies,” or “I’m interested to hear more about your work in graphic design.”

This encourages them to share more about their passions or experiences, making the conversation more satisfying and enjoyable for both parties. It’s all about showing genuine interest and making the other person feel valued.

9) “It’s been great talking to you…”

Ending the conversation on a positive note is just as important as starting it well.

A phrase like, “It’s been great talking to you,” leaves the other person with a warm feeling and a positive impression of you.

This simple phrase acknowledges the time and effort they put into the conversation.

It shows appreciation and respect for their thoughts and experiences, and it signals that you enjoyed the interaction, increasing the chances of future conversations.

The beauty of connection

The art of conversation, particularly small talk, is so much more than a mere exchange of words. It’s about connection, empathy, and understanding.

It’s about sharing a piece of yourself and inviting others to do the same.

The phrases we’ve discussed are not merely tools for sparking and carrying conversations. They are bridges, helping us cross the gap between mere acquaintances and meaningful connections.

Whether it’s showing genuine interest through a simple “Tell me more about…” or expressing mutual understanding with “I can relate to that,” each phrase serves as a key to unlock deeper layers of interaction.

In the grand scheme of things, small talk is our way of acknowledging each other’s humanity. It’s our way of saying, “I see you, I’m interested in you, and I value this interaction.”

And isn’t that what truly matters?