Is Making Great Conversation an Inherited Trait or a Skill you Cultivate?
Some people just seem to have “the gift of gab” making
the notion of small talk, effortless indeed.
Meanwhile, others seem too never know quite what to
say in any given situation, relying on one-word
responses that are conversation killers. When
studying this dilemma, two things come to the
forefront. Why are some people gifted in creating
small talk and putting their conversation partner at
ease while others are painfully inept at this concept?
Also, is this skill and lack of skill, inherent, or is
it a skill that can be cultivated and perfected?
To the second question I respond, “Both.”
For as far back as mankind has been communicating, we
know that the lack of communication or the
inefficiencies in communication have always been
barriers to effective communication. What’s
interesting is, after all of these years, as our
societies have developed we now have more forms of
media with which to convey our thoughts and ideas than
ever before in the history of mankind. However, I
would propose that effective communication has
suffered. Perhaps, we have too much to say today.
But, yet, even in this world of “miscommunication”,
there are those who transcend and are able to
effectively communicate with others. What is their
secret and can it be developed by others, the less
fortunate, the “effective communication” challenged?
We know that the effortless communicators did not
develop their skills while attending mandatory public
schools in the United States. Never before has such
an important concept (i.e. effective communication)
been so neglected in our public education.
Nevertheless, these “more than small talk” makers
consistently excel and develop contacts, network lists
and grow businesses all out of their skills in
effective communication. But, it had nothing to do
with what was learned at school. However, most of the
great communicators had one big thing on their
side—Mama and Daddy. Most effective communicators
grew up understanding that as a people, we are in this
thing together. So, you have to build relationships.
Mama and Daddy did it and junior watched the process
and subliminally absorbed the process. Junior was in
effect, indoctrinated into this process.
So, where does that leave us, the small talk goofs,
whose parents, were more reserved, perhaps even shy
and did not see the benefits in social networking?
Does that mean we have no hope in growing into
Not at all.
In fact, I’ve listed below 10 ideas and suggestions
for developing your small talk skills:
· Don’t bring up the subjects of politics or religion,
unless you’re into the melee scene.
· Hit the thesaurus daily. Take a couple of minutes
each day for a month and think of some of the more
mundane words you use each day and use the
thesaurus to replace these words in your everyday
language. I’m telling you, the difference between an
average vocabulary and an impressive vocabulary is
only about 50-75 words. Hint: don’t go overboard,
you don’t want to overwhelm or turn-off your
· Don’t make fun of others. Conversation giants don’t
gloat over the gaffes of others, we’re not in middle
· Constantly do new things in your life. This can be
something as simple as taking a new route home from
work once a week. What does this do? It gives you a
new perspective on things and it helps build your
· Smile. But not too quickly or too much.
Universally, the smile is the number one communication
expression of the human race. It transcends languages
which is a true testament to its’ power and
effectiveness. Used too quickly or too often and it
certainly loses its allure.
· Be positive. Negative small talk or just negative
conversation at any level is a big DRAG!! Negativity
is the quickest way to earn a “poo-poo” reputation.
· Stay away from cliches. I suppose one might be ok
in certain circumstances but cliches are often used
and used and used. Plus, everybody has heard them and
you want to be interesting.
· Keep a journal. How boring you say? The reason why
you would want to keep a journal is to write down
interesting stories and events that have taken place
in your life. Re-visit the journal every couple of
days and you’ll be amazed at the stories captured in
the journal. These stories make for great and
effortless small talk.
· Get out and talk to all kinds of people. I realize
that for some shyness may very well be one of the
limiting factors. But you’ve got to start sometime.
Plus, talking with various people will help you gain a
new perspective on the thoughts and mental processes
· Build others up. For the love of Pete, don’t talk
about yourself ad nauseum. Prod others into talking
about themselves, you’ll be surprised at how much
people love doing this and the great thing is, you
just have to listen. And you’re a “Giant” in their
These are just a few of hundreds of exercises you can
do to develop your conversation skills. Remember,
effective communication and effortless small talk are
both skills that can be developed, honed and sharpened
in order to mold us into excellent communicators.