Small talk, for many people, can be a difficult undertaking, whereas for others it’s as easy as tying their shoes. Of all the conversational styles however, small talk is the most difficult to negotiate. What do I talk about? This is the basic question we ask ourselves when first meeting someone. Another part of the dilemma is that in order to meet someone new we have to engage in small talk with them first, before the interaction can develop into a friendship. So, if you want to meet someone new you will have to initiate small talk. Here are some common small talk mistakes to avoid.

Many people, wanting to engage in small talk with another, fear that they will be boring. And boring you might be, but it is better to take a chance on being boring than not trying at all. If you don’t try you’ll never know. Don’t worry about charming the pants off someone. Rather focus your attention on meeting them. Let go of all your preconceived notions about how another will respond to you. If they don’t respond in a positive way, oh well. That is their problem, not yours. They are the ones missing out on you.

The most important thing whenever trying to initiate small talk with another person is to approach that person with a smile, and maybe even a hand shake. Smiles are a world-renowned ice-breaker that opens the door to practically every conversation. Smiles soften people. A handshake mixed with a smile lets the other know you are no threat. A smile sends a message of comfort to the other. A handshake sends the message of sincerity.

Take a moment to reflect on the last time you met someone for the first time. Perhaps that reflection is upon a job interview. The interviewer and yourself greeted each other with a smile and a hand shake before walking into his or her office. Not only was this an act of professionalism, but it was also an ice-breaker. Both your prospective employer and yourself relaxed more after this initial greeting. Apply this same principle to every time you initiate an interaction.

Another small talk mistake not to make is not paying attention to your body language as you make your approach. Body language is very important in every interaction, especially when becoming involved in a new relationship. We all notice the interests of another in many situations, and when see that person approach we are looking at their body language. That body language sends us signals and messages of which we begin to evaluate. And yours does too! Become aware of your body language. Good body language will get you better results than poor body language.

Asking close ended questions is a big mistake. The answer should be obvious. A closed question gets a dead-end response. And once you get a dead end response you will be standing there trying to recover and come up with something else.

Not listening is another small talk mistake. Small talk can be fun, interesting and engaging, but it requires one to listen, even if the small talk may seem boring. If it seems boring keep listening, because small talk has a tendency of taking turns. Small talk can go off into variety of places and never sticks to any one for a long period of time. The more you listen the more involved you are able to become in the small talk. And small talk can get quite relaxing and funny at times. Perhaps, this is what small talk is about: relaxing and having fun!

Author's Bio: 

Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. This report reveals the secret strategies all high achievers use to communicate with charm and impact. Apply now because it is available for a limited time only at: