Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with one of those people who definitely live in the TMI zone? You know, the ones who when asked ‘How are you today?’, provide you with every detail of not only their day, but their week, month and even year. Out of courtesy, you asked how they were, but now you’ve found yourself trapped in a conversation about stuff you either don’t want to know about or possibly don’t care about. Actually, worse than not caring, it’s become awkward because you hardly know them and the intimate details are becoming overwhelming. We all have one of these people in our lives and, for the purpose of this article, I encourage you to think about them.
Additionally, we often hear people commenting that they can’t stand small talk – the noise pollution or seemingly mundane conversations that feel as if they are travelling in circles or towards a dead-end.
I want to challenge this, especially when it comes to our relationships and our social media interaction. Think about some of your greatest friendships and how they developed. Usually, there was some small talk and, if you think about it, the small talk still exists in that friendship. Think of small talk like a bridge connecting vast areas of land (the land being the big talk). This is our connection point and its value cannot be ignored. Without the bridge leading us into big talk we remain an island.
How does one engage in small talk?
1) Walk across the room: Lean in to who they are and what they are a part of and simply be yourself.
2) Research: Learn about the other person/brand/organisation.
3) Be interested: In them and not what you have to offer. Don’t be pushy.
4) Share: Articles or information that could benefit what they are doing. Appropriate funny things that you know will interest them.
5) Dialogue: Begin to comment on photos/tweets/updates/posts. Not throw-away comments but ones that show you have truly engaged with their content.
6) Questions: Ask smart questions based on your research.
7) Talk about them: Share their story with your community. Build them up and cheer them on.
The above are just a few simple steps to help you engage with a person, brand or organisation that you may be interested in. Small talk is essential in a relationship. It not only serves as a bridge, but gives the party you are trying to engage with time to check you out, to research and see if this is an avenue they want to walk down.
True, authentic social media engagement is just like life and it is important, when reaching out, to always consider how you would like to be spoken to. No one wants the immediate download of the heavy stuff. In a face-to-face situation when this happens, as I said above, we can feel trapped. Trapped until the next breath or interruption which we take as our cue to escape. In social media, it’s as simple as unfriend, block, unfollow, ignore.
Don’t dismiss small talk, for it usually leads to authentic big talk. When done properly, it’s invaluable. So friends, time to jump on your platform of choice and start commenting on all of those cat videos and pictures … well, maybe not those exactly, but you know what I mean.
Stay tuned for my next article ‘What Is Your Point of Difference’. Now get out there and go for it!
Susan J Sohn – GetRealLive