We’ve all engaged in some sort of small talk either in the office, on campus, at a party, or other places where you find yourself in the company of others. For some of us, participating in small talk may come easily, while for others it may be quite difficult. Some individuals may find small talk to be irritating while others find it a necessity. In this paper I am going to explore what exactly defines small talk as such; the reasons why people find the need to engage in small talk; the benefits, and disadvantages of small talk; is there an ethical approach to small talk; and provide tips on how to participate in small talk—without it creating an uncomfortable atmosphere.
What exactly defines small talk as such, segregating it from the normal conversations exchanged between two individuals? Small talk is defined as a light conversation; it is typically polite and about matters of little importance, especially between people who do not know each other well. In these conversations general-interest topics are commonly discussed such as movies, sports, food, travel, and music. Many find that those who engage in this form of conversation are approachable and friendly. By taking an active part in these conversations you send a message that you are ready, willing and able to communicate. This may not seem like a difficult task, considering all humans communicate at various levels daily, but to engage in small talk may actually be very difficult, so when done willingly and well it can say a lot about that person.
Part of being successful at small talk is being an avid listener. This is a very important part of conversation. Many get worried about being able to communicate their thoughts clearly that they neglect to listen. Listening carefully helps in understanding and encouraging those who are speaking to you. Franklin Roosevelt, the thirty-second president of the United States of America, believed that most people were poor listeners. He believed that... [continues]
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