For many, the thought of engaging in “small talk” can make them anxious. It comes down to one thing FEAR. Fear of being rejected. Fear of having nothing to contribute. Fear of getting stumped (or running out of conversation). Fear of getting stuck in a conversation with, well, that stranger that Mom warned you about.
FEAR NOT! The strangers your mother warned you about are no longer interested. You have things to contribute and with a little planning and practice you will never get stumped (and if you do, there is a way out).
As for rejection, know this: Everyone has this fear. EVERYONE. Even the most well connected, confident person will tell you that deep down inside, that they have this apprehension. If everyone has this fear, then everyone will welcome you coming up and jumping into conversation with them.
So make someone’s day. Engage in some “small talk” with them.
On July 28, 2014, the Newark Advocated shared the story behind Evelyn Frolking’s starting Studio Artiflora, her Granville-based floral studio. To read this story (entitled Granville studio florist celebrates 10 years), go to http://www.newarkadvocate.com/story/news/local/aces-of-trades/2014/07/28/granville-studio-florist-celebrates-years/13257731/ . Evelyn is a member of the Granville Chapter and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think about it. What did you do that last time you were at an event and someone started talking “Brass Tack” ASAP. “Who does your printing? Are you happy? I can do better? Give me a chance. Throw me some business? Well, why not?”
It is through “small talk” that people gain an understanding of: Who you are … What interests you … How you spend your time. And you learn the same about them.
As an analogy, “small talk” is like the warm up you do before you really get into the work out. It is the foundation of the KNOWING in “Know, Like & Trust. It is also this small foundation, upon which people gain a sense as to whether they LIKE you. In fact, social science and brain studies have shown that in the few minutes where chitchat is happening, people even start to formulate a sense as to whether or not they TRUST you too.
Let’s face it … “small talk” has a bad reputation. It probably dates back to the continual chiding our Mother’s did relative to talking with strangers.
While her warnings were intended to protect us as children from those who prey on our innocence, we are no longer kids. We are big boys and girls … We operate in the grown-up world where strangers become good friends, great clients and, even reliable vendors.
Even still, however, “small talk” gets a bad rap. Far too often people see it as idle chitchat that has no productive value in the professional world.
Understand this, our entire personal and professional worlds are formed and held firmly together by networking … And “small talk” has a big part in successful networking.
Merisa K. Bowers member of the Columbus Chapter was recently chosen to serve as the Commissioner to the Community Relations Commission for the City of Columbus. She will serve a three-year term working to coordinate civic leaders, business leaders, citizens and elected officials on the same page on issues of ethnic, racial and cultural diversity.
Frank Agin, founder and President of AmSpirit Business Connections, had a short networking article (entitled How To Avoid Cold Calling Larger Companies) posted on the Price of Business website. To view the article CLICK HERE. This site is a production of Kevin Price, the host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK, M-F at 7 am CST; a nationally syndicated columnist, a guest on radio and TV shows around the country, author, and Publisher/Editor in Chief of US Daily Review (a national news site). He also writes a technology feature for the Huffington Post. He is frequently found on Fox News, Fox Business, and other programs.
Networking events are generally not opportunities for closing business. Thus, you may not likely get clients as a result of them. You may stumble upon a client. Know, however, that is the exception rather than the rule.
As you embark upon networking at events, do not consume yourself with meeting as many people as you can. Remember, meaningfully connecting is about the quality of the connection and not the quantity. You are much further ahead in time to focus on really connecting with a small handful of people rather than simply collecting dozens of business cards.
Remember, networking events are everywhere. Business after-hours are networking events. Tradeshows are networking events. Business parties are networking events … so are social parties, tailgates, and really any gathering of people. Use each to expand your base of connections, from which you build relationships.