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Smarter Small Talk

Gila Arnold

Do social situations leave you feeling insecure and awkward? Free your inner social butterfly from its cocoon by mastering the art of small talk.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

You walk into a crowded simchah hall, only to discover that you don’t know a soul. Do you a) introduce yourself to the first lady you see and launch effortlessly into a half-hour schmooze, b) take a long, deliberate time filling your plate at the shmorg, c) wake up from the nightmare in a cold sweat? If you’re like most people, you probably did not choose the first answer. Few of us are natural-born socialites, gliding through conversations with delightful repartee. For most, the art of small talk is a forced skill, born out of social necessity, not one we look forward to practicing. Yet the advantages of being a proficient small talker go beyond making it through a kiddush with your self-esteem intact. While the term may imply something trivial, small talk is the gateway to so much that we want in our lives. Whether it’s forming meaningful relationships or succeeding in business, using conversation to connect to another person can open doors where brains or talent alone fail.  So for all of you who’ve contemplated skipping an important social event because your couch and a good book were so much more inviting, here’s what to do — and what not to do — to successfully wend your way through small talk in a variety of situations.

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