Read "The Fine Art of Small Talk How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills--and Leave a Positive Impression!" by Debra Fine available. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Would-be social butterflies will get encouragement Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Business & Money. Then it's time you mastered The Fine Art of Small Talk. millions of other books are available for instant access. view Kindle eBook | view Audible audiobook.
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Before I gave myself a remedial education in the Fine Art of Small Talk, I had been a poor communicator and a timid person for as long as I could recall. Preface. The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills--and Leave a Positive Impression! by Debra Fine. Read online, or. Nationally recognized communication expert Debra Fine reveals the techniques and strategies anyone can use to make small talk-in any situation. Do you.
A classic covering the basics of small talk. Conversationally Speaking Author: Alan Garner This is one of the cult classics — together with How to Win Friends — and has over 1 million copies sold. The language is a bit old the book was published but the strategies are great. Adler Another old-school book, this one from If you want to cover the basics first.
Do NOT buy this book if… If you are looking for a more advanced take on conversations or have already read up on the basics. Then, I would recommend The Charisma Myth. Unlike the other books in this list, this one is written biography-form. In other words, the book is all about anecdotes and not about step-by-step techniques. You want in-depth advice. You want a quick read. Do buy this book if… You want the best foundations for not only conversations but for social life in general Do NOT buy this book if… You want something that focuses only on conversations.
I recommend this book for this. Please note that while there is a chapter specifically on how to talk to people, this book covers much more than making conversation. Do buy this book if… You want to be more charismatic in your conversations If you want a holistic view on social interaction Do NOT buy this book if… You want something specifically about making conversations You want to learn the basics first 4. My Adventures in the Art and Science Author: Alan Alda This is a classic on being a better communicator In other words, this is NOT about the basics of conversation, strategies for avoiding awkward silence, and so on It DOES cover how to be a better listener, how to avoid misunderstandings, building rapport, and having hard conversations Do buy this book if… You want to be better at communicating.
If so, this is the gold standard. You want to be better at small talk and everyday conversation. Be aware that it seems geared for men who want to talk to women.
I'm going to buy this book to keep on hand to reference when needed. It lets you know what kind of things are important to a conversation, like maintaining eye contact, listening attentively, etc. Some of the things seem kind of basic initially, but we can know it but still not do it correctly.
We all frequently find ourselves trying to multi-task, using the computer while talking, etc. Eating while talking is fine, but Debra reminds us that we need to be focus on the conversation and the person or our This is a good book to learn more about conversation skills.
Eating while talking is fine, but Debra reminds us that we need to be focus on the conversation and the person or our mind will easily drift to other things. I especially like the chapter about crimes and misdemeanors: The FBI agent someone who asks too many questions so the conversation doesn't flow , the braggart, the one-upper, the monopolizer, the interrupter, the poor sport, the know-it-all, and the advisor.
This book inspires the reader to pay more attention to our conversations, networking, and connecting with others. Favorite Quote: "Guess what? Most of us are ordinary people just trying to live our lives. We worry about paying bills, educating kids, our favorite team winning a championship, getting a promotion, caring for elderly parents, taking an occasional vacation, having time for a hobby, and relaxing now and then.
We are more alike than we are different, and our commmonality as human beings opens the door for connection and conversation. Small talk is the Icebreaker that clears the way for more intimate conversation, laying the foundation for a stronger relationship.
It's almost surely not your fault, at all! One thing to always keep in mind: Conversation is a two-way street. It is not possible to talk to yourself.
Well, it actually is, but you will definitely get some strange looks if you do.
But the point is that it takes two There is a very serious mental health issue which afflicts over 17 million American adults, called "Social Anxiety," or "Social Phobia. It's something most people have never even heard of, and know absolutely nothing about. This condition renders its victims unable to conduct what we would regard as "normal" conversation, in that they can't express themselves fluently, and can only speak in short sentences of just a few words.
But they otherwise outwardly appear to be perfectly normal. The problem arises when we attempt to interact with them, inasmuch as we have no idea that we're trying to talk to someone who almost literally can't speak.
Their distress is usually pretty apparent right away. Instead of an immediate response, you often receive a lengthy pause, followed by an answer of, at most, three or four words. And that answer will frequently consist of yes, no, or I don't know, but never with a descriptive sentence.
But having asked them a question, we can't just abruptly turn and walk away - although we both would be much better off to do exactly that. It becomes extremely awkward, because the more questions you ask, in an effort to try to communicate with them, the less able they are to answer you.
There is no way to predict when you will run into someone with this condition, and in fact, they seem to gravitate to places that one would expect them to avoid - where people are gathered to mix and mingle, and who certainly expect to be able to talk to each other.
It's only when we make an attempt to engage someone with this condition in actual conversation that we discover that there is a problem. Sometimes, when attempting to talk to someone we may have just met, we find that we can't think of anything to say. Very often, this has nothing whatsoever to do with your inability to think of something interesting to say, but everything to do with the fact that you are trying to talk to a person who cannot or will not talk.
This occurs more frequently than we could even imagine. Usually, it happens after we have made an opening comment to someone we don't already know, to which they respond with stone silence. And we're not even sure exactly what we said. When we speak to someone, to be met with silence is such a rude, insulting act, that it assaults the senses, and makes it impossible to think of anything appropriate to say.
Of course, this only has to happen once, and you feel totally rejected. We just naturally assume that they have heard us, and are deliberately ignoring us, for whatever reason. It is so surprising, and so unexpected, you immediately become convinced that you have just "laid an egg," or said something that they have deemed offensive, and so you clamp your mouth shut, and think of yourself as being incurably shy. Except you're not shy at all.
You'd know it for sure, if you really were. If you have no trouble talking to friends or family, you probably don't have a problem at all, even though you might think you do. You think the problem is that you are unable to talk to strangers, and this, to you, is proof positive. In hindsight, what is so amazing about this whole scenario is that we just automatically assume that we are the problem; that we somehow are at fault, and not once do we even consider that the real cause of the problem is that the person we are attempting to converse with is not capable of communicating.
Especially if they appear to be someone of some substantial standing in the group - which happens much more frequently than you might ever suspect. It just doesn't seem possible that someone who appears to cast a commanding presence, and gives the impression that they are someone to definitely be contended with, could have any sort of problem with talking.
But you might be very much surprised. Sometimes, we will ask a question of someone, and they do not respond, but seem to look very condescendingly at us, and we feel intimidated. We interpret this as a superior attitude, and we feel knocked down in importance, and reduced in stature, at least inwardly.
But what is actually happening is that this person is not capable of coming up with any sort of answer to our question or remark. They don't respond, because they can't. It is very possible that the glaring look they send our way is pure anger, that we have unwittingly exposed their Achilles heel.
Just by asking them a question, we put them on the spot to answer, and they are unable to do so. If you were afflicted with Social Anxiety, you definitely would know it. You would not be asking anybody any questions, about anything, and you certainly would not be downloading books that professed to cure your "shyness" out in the public arena.
But there has to be a reason that this happened to you at this particular time and place You have encountered someone who does have Social Anxiety, and have asked them a question. Think about it: Usually, when we experience what we think of as an "awkward silence," it is right after we have said something to someone we don't know, and they do not immediately respond. A strange silence hovers in the air, and we feel as though we could sink into our shoes.
We feel sure we have said something terrible, even though we have no idea what it might have been - but the cold silence we are receiving is devastating. In the space of just a few seconds, a "cat and mouse" game is being played out.
Normally, the person asking the question controls the direction of the conversation. But just as soon as the person being asked the question responds with silence, that control is wrenched away from the person asking the question, and he is put on the defensive.
This is the moment when the control shifts from the one asking the question, to the person who is expected to respond, but does not.
The questioner almost always automatically assumes that they are at fault, and feels extremely vulnerable. But the important thing to keep in mind is that you asked a question, but did not receive an answer, and why do you suppose that happened?
If you examine what has just transpired, it is that you have said something that normally would have elicited a response.
You expected a response, and yet no response has been forthcoming - only dead silence. This is completely unexpected, and catches you totally flat-footed!
But this didn't happen because you said something that was embarrassing, or out of line. This happened because the person you were addressing was not capable of responding to your question or comment. Don't you get it? You spoke to him, expecting a reply, but you might as well have been speaking a foreign language, because all you got from him was a hard glare, and total silence. He can't function.
He can't respond to your comment or question, no matter what it is. He's not being rude - although that's the impression you get - he just can't do any better. To answer your comment or question would have required him to have come up with a stream-of-consciousness reply, explaining his opinion and the reasoning behind his answers, but his mental condition will not permit him to do so. And so he says nothing. Hence, the "awkward silence.
And it's all your fault. But it's not your fault at all. In fact, you are the true victim here. Actually, though, you are not really a victim, since you do not have a mental issue. You are merely the unfortunate recipient of circumstance. The biggest and most important lesson to learn from all of this is simply to not be shocked or surprised. Even though most of us definitely are surprised when this sort of thing happens, the main thing is just to be aware that this condition definitely does exist in the world, and we could very well find ourselves confronted with this scenario again, at some point in the future, and to not let it confound us, and make us doubt ourselves.
We feel a sense of personal responsibility whenever the dreaded "awkward silence" occurs, but it is not our fault, at all.
When you receive silence as a response to a question or comment you make, it is not possible to salvage any sensible outcome from the exchange, because an exchange never actually happened in the first place. Any comment or question deserves a response, and lacking that response, there is actually nothing to say, except to frankly, walk away. But realizing that we are not at fault is the first requirement in calming our fears about being inadequate in socializing with others.
The point is that the problems that other people have are also projected onto us, insofar as we are continually interacting with other people every day, and have to suffer through whatever might ensue, once we are locked into an attempt to converse with them.
Even though anyone suffering from this condition certainly deserves compassion, once we realize that this is the case, it is futile to continue to attempt to have any sort of meaningful conversation, as sad as that is to realize. And so, nothing has been resolved; the whole conversation is just left hanging, with no closure, but you are obviously at the end of the encounter, and you are left to just sort of saunter away, in some other direction.
This is actually separate and apart from the very real problem that many people have about making small talk at social gatherings. It is not easy, for many people. Much of it is due to a lack of self-confidence, which can't be easily cured with a few well-practiced sentences, or lines from a book. But that lack of confidence is only exacerbated when we, in all innocence and sincerity, approach someone and ask them a question, only to be met with a wall of silence.
This serves to shatter any feelings of competence we might have in being out in the great social wilderness, but it happens all the time, and contributes in no small part to the feelings we may have about being shy when meeting new people.
If we can understand that the problem is not because of any shyness we may have, but actually because of the inability of the person we are attempting to converse with to respond, our fears will disappear.
Confidence only comes with experience. Sometimes, being out in the social jungle is like a soldier negotiating a mine field: There is disaster almost anywhere you step. But even beyond the normal travails that present themselves at social gatherings, in trying to mix and mingle, we find that very often we are attempting to have a conversation, and trying to put our most charming foot forward, with someone who has no ability to reciprocate.
Meaning that they can't speak, almost at all, beyond a three or four word sentence.