Let’s face it: People like talking about what they are interested in much more than they like talking about what you are interested in. Even if you don’t like to make small talk, it’s often essential for creating connections with customers and prospects. And, there is a good chance that the person to whom you are talking also disdains small talk and is not in a natural comfort zone either. You can more easily warm up to these people–and in turn, lay the groundwork for a meaningful connection–by shifting the conversation to a topic he or she is excited to discuss.
Ask questions to discover what topics interest the person you are speaking to. At a minimum, most people like talking about themselves, so even the process of inquiring will help engage the other party. Ask about their business, hobbies, or even what sports team the individual likes. Intellectual curiosity is a key driver to building rapport. And the more knowledgeable and conversant you are on as broad an array of topics as possible, the better equipped you will be at not only making small talk but making it enjoyable