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Mindfulness and Conversation: Mastering The Art of Small Talk By Maya Talisman Frost

How's the weather there?

We use small talk to connect with others in a casual way, and by becoming more mindful of the way we interact with those we don’t know well, we can learn a lot about our confidence level, sense of privacy, and attachment to our own opinions.

Small talk isn’t a replacement for deeper relationships—it’s the first step toward building them. We start by being fully present and talking about what is right there in front of us—the weather, your client’s new car, your neighbor’s flowers, the pictures on the walls in the interviewer’s office.

Good small talk indicates:

*Awareness. Did you notice that new haircut, office chair, or necktie? You can show others that you are paying attention by mentioning subtle changes.

*Friendliness. You could just smile and nod, but making a benign comment or asking a question shows that you are truly interested in taking the initiative in the conversation.

*A Desire to Connect. It’s easy to go about our lives without talking to others in any kind of meaningful way. By continuing to engage in light conversation with others, you are indicating your interest in getting to know them better.

*Sensitivity: You’re trying to build a bridge, not a wall. Ask questions and look for cues that let you know how the other person is receiving your comments.

Pay attention to your opportunities to use small talk to connect with others, and be mindful of the way you can leverage your words to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships.

Beyond the weather, there are thousands of topics you can use to create that bridge. Keep it light, be aware, and have fun in your conversations, and before you know it, you'll be one of those people described as someone who has "never met a stranger."

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