Stop talking about the weather!
You may have noticed that some entrepreneurs are more constrained in presentations and negotiations with their potential business partners than others.
This is most likely due to the lack of relevant subjects at school that develop communication skills - debating, discussing, presenting projects, etc.
In this context, I would like to tell or remind you of one of the negotiation techniques - small talks. A simple conversation is one of the methods of negotiation. Light small talk helps to establish contact with the person you are talking to, to set the mood, to clear the air, and move smoothly to the main point. It is very important for networking. Moreover, in many countries, such small talk is the etiquette of negotiations. For most of our folks, it feels like a waste of time and, in extreme cases, comes down to talking about the weather.
Although, if you are planning to attract investments or major clients in Europe or the U.S., you definitely need to master the art of small talks.
In fact, it just seems easy and insignificant, but the skill requires regular practice, like any soft skill.
Here are some recommendations from communications consultants:
- Share a common theme. Make your "homework" of several topics in which you could keep the conversation going, and choose one that you think would be interesting to both parties in the case;
- Try to find common interests - hobbies, sports, studies, kids, etc. especially if you are going to do business together in the future;
- Use the technique of effective listening - listen attentively and ask open-ended questions;
- Make a compliment, support, or agree with the other person's point of view, but do it in as natural a way as possible: being sincere is just as important in a business partnership as it is in your personal life;
- Sometimes you can still use the weather topic as a bridge to the main one;
- Practice on people you don't know well - try to start small talks every day in the elevator to the office or during coffee breaks;
- Follow the news, read, or get an original hobby to become an interesting companion;
But there are also caveats:
- Don't start a long conversation when it's out of place (no time, wrong company);
- Do not discuss politics, religion, or diseases in a short conversation;
- Do not discuss common acquaintances over their backs.
By the way, similar rules are in place when making contact on social networks. If you need the favor of an unfamiliar person, don't ask for it right away. Make a kind of small talk in messaging
But that's a topic for another article.
How good are you at small talk? Is it easy for you to make small talk? Which interesting topics do you use?