Today I read a post stating that Introverts avoid small talk because like the white bread in a sandwich, it’s just empty calories and no nutrients. Now I love a good analogy and couldn’t resist continuing the theme.
You see, from my perspective, whilst there is some truth in the above assertion, especially if the bread is dry and stale, white bread also serves a purpose in a sandwich. In many ways it makes it more palatable, less messy and easier to manage. Who wouldn’t want that when it comes to small-talk? We live in a world where the socially expected norm includes an ability to engage in small-talk. After all, it breaks the ice or precedes a more in-depth conversation which, if it’s mutually interesting, can be really engaging.
Now I do accept that small-talk can be a challenge for many Introverts, but in my experience it’s a skill well worth developing. The misnomer and fear for many of us is that small-talk means I’m going to have to talk to people. Well yes, but here’s the trick. A few well placed, genuinely open questions mean you probably only have to listen as other people are often happy to talk about themselves and/or their opinions. Think about the people you’ll be mingling with; what are their interests? What topics are current in the news locally or nationally? Practice a few conversation starter questions that will get people talking. I’ve found that many Introverts are ‘listening ninjas’ so Include some encouraging nods and the occasional ‘tell me more’ and you’re on your way to cracking the small-talk skill. And without having to say very much at all!
In conclusion, don’t be afraid of the white bread, it serves a purpose. Just ensure yours is not dry and stale.