Small talk & Conversation depth

For starters:

1.1 Sub-heading: How much do you need to know about a topic to have a conversation

As an example, if one is talking about politics with someone they just met, its not so much about the detail and how smart you are

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Level 1: Small talk
“Having said that, if you habitually go to social gatherings where you know no one and you have little or no interest in the activity your starting point is likely to be one of boredom, disinterest and an obvious lack of connection with whoever you meet. Pursue your passions, go to events with your kind of people”

 

1.2 Small Talk isn’t About Substance, It’s About Making Connections

When you’re first talking to someone new, there are a host of questions that your subconscious wants answered that can’t be dealt with via explicit conversation. You want to feel safe, feel welcomed, and have a sense of belonging. Small talk may feel like you’re not saying anything of substance, but if you do it right, you’re communicating plenty of very important information. It’s just not overtly verbalized.

Most people don’t really enjoy small talk, because it’s tedious, feels draining, and can give you a case of acute onset imposter syndrome.

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Not to be confused with everyday routine pleasantries. Impostor Syndrome is more about putting up a persona in a 1 to 1 convo. While you should put your best face forward, it also important to find connections, common ground, common interests

Most people don’t really enjoy small talk, because it’s tedious, feels draining, and can give you a case of acute onset imposter syndrome. That may just be because we don’t realize small talk’s true function: it’s not about substance. It’s about making a connection.

You probably don’t have a ton of small talk with people you already know and like. Sure, you may have to go through routine pleasantries with someone at the office, or a distant relative. When it comes to the people you know well and choose to associate with, however, you’ve already moved on to more worthwhile conversations.

Source: LifeHacker

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Peter Murphy, Always Know What to Say:

“A common habit among people who avoid meeting people and dislike making small talk is the lack of a clearly defined goal for social interactions.  So what can serve as a conversation goal? It can be anything from something as simple as looking for what you have in common to something more involved like asking for opinions, perspectives or insights on local changes in your community.

Always be on the lookout for common goals, concerns or worries. When you share a passion or a problem with someone there is ample scope for a lively conversation as you put your minds together”

 

1.3 Expert: Deep conversations

Why do we shy away from talking about our feelings, aspirations, religious convictions and/or things that aren’t entertainment or sports? I’m not saying there is anything wrong with popular culture-based talks or sport chats, but try and think critically about what you have seen and speak original thoughts. Don’t just spew what you read online or heard on TV.

Some of my closest friendships were spawned from spontaneous, personal conversations. One doesn’t have to pour their soul out to a stranger, but opening up shouldn’t strike fear into their heart.

Everyone has a history. Every individual has a unique story. Each person you come across probably possesses the memory of an experience that you would find intriguing.

There aren’t many things better than those long, all-night conversations with someone. The ones in which you can feel the friendship forming into a long-lasting bond. The ones where you think “I should probably go to sleep,” but your friend has you so encompassed and on the edge of your seat that you throw the ideas of morning exhaustion out the window and listen onward.

I strongly urge everyone out there to strike up a real conversation with that one person who catches your eye in the Union or the girl who sits by you in class or the professor who makes you feel like a human being and not just another kid in class.

Source: Stephan Reed – Speak With Substance, Avoid Superficial Conversation

 

1.4 Levels of Communication

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Source: SlideShare.net

 

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Top 10 Conversation Topics by by Eduard Ezeanu (Coach)

Tuning my people skills, I have learned to talk about anything and everything. I can do this now, not because I know a lot of stuff (which I don’t), but because I can relate with people on any subject

When you’re talking with a person you’ve just met it’s good to understand what the interesting conversation topics that go well with most people are. Thus, you can start a conversation on a common ground and build rapport fast.

These are ten conversation topics I use quite a lot and I find well suited for almost any conversation. They’re a good tool to engage people, make interactions enjoyable, build relationships and reveal your charismatic personality:

1. Human Psychology
We love the subject of human nature and nurture. We want to understand ourselves better and to understand others better.

Talking about how we are, how our mind works, why we do what we do and anchoring this in real life is always interesting. Furthermore, if you know some fascinating psychological theories, you’re sure to woo anybody.

2. Traveling
Nowadays, traveling is highly accessible and it is the favorite pastime of many people. Almost every person out there with a decent income does some long distance traveling every year and has a lot of stories to tell.

For this reason, I find that it’s very easy to get other people talking about their traveling experiences and to relate with them. Plus, I have filled most of my traveling agenda based on recommendations from others.

3. Books
Sure, people may have different tastes in what they read, but the subject of books in itself is very big and juicy.

Also, keep in mind the alternative sources for reading material such as newspapers, magazines, journals, websites

4. Movies
Books may have their limits as an interest

In my perspective, this is one of the richest conversation topics out there.

The caveat is that a discussion about movies can quickly get boring, so you want to be careful and elegant with it. You most certainty don’t want to abuse this topic.

5. Women/ Men
I often say that men’s favorite conversation topic is women, and women’s favorite topic is men. You might as well exploit this. I have rarely seen two men connect as easy as when they are having a discussion about the ‘prey’ (and I’m not talking about wild deer).

Even if you’re talking with a person of the opposite sex, talking about either men or women (pick one at a time) can be very engaging. We generally love to get the perspective of the opposite sex on this subject.

6. Hobbies
There is a wide range of hobbies people may have, from polo, to yoga, to pottery. I frequently like to ask others about their hobbies. Even if we may not have a lot of hobbies in common, they present a good opportunity to get to know the other person and perhaps discover a new, exciting hobby for myself.

Preferably, avoid talking with a workaholic about their hobbies, as they will politely (or not) explain you how they work 70 hours each week. Speaking of workaholics…

7. Career
There is a huge difference between a job and a career. A job is what you do at one point or another for money. A career is a journey of learning, adding value and receiving value that stretches over most of your lifetime.

You don’t want to narrowly focus a conversation on “What do you do for a living?” You want to also explore career plans, career challenges or the journey so far.

8. Bars, clubs, pubs and coffee shops
One of my favorite conversation questions is: “Where do you go out?” Some people prefer places where they can dance, some where they can eat and others where they can just hangout or use their people skills to socialize.

Nevertheless, most persons do like to go out of their cave and explore their immediate surroundings. Conversation topics involving their experiences in this area are definitely a good idea.

9. Food
There is this subtle attraction most of us humans have towards food: making it, seeing it, acquiring it and eating it. It’s not just a subject for housewives and chefs.

Subtle conversations on the art of cooking or the art of eating, sharing small details about the kinds of foods you like and how you eat them, these create a bond between people.

10. Events
If you live in a relatively big city (and chances are that you do), there’s a lot going on in it every day of the week: conferences, celebrations, marches, strikes, accidents, alien invasions and so on.

Such events create one of the best conversation topics for some quality small talk at the beginning of a conversation: they’re easy to bring into discussion, somewhat interesting and they’re happening somewhere near you.

Having said that, knowing the right topics doesn’t do much for you if you lack conversation confidence. Knowledge without attitude is useless

http://www.peopleskillsdecoded.com/conversation-topics/

 

A difference in ambition

“Trevor went from cherishing Meghan to, as one friend observed, ‘feeling like he was a piece of something stuck to the bottom of her shoe”

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It would make sense to suggest dating or marrying someone who is more ambitious than you is a no no, and can lead only to heartache quickly.

What looks like a special event, Trevor is sandals and baggy jeans

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It wasn’t an age difference, it probably was a difference in ambition

Both actually benefited from the relationship, you could say they used the experience and contacts gained as a stepping stone

  • Trevor now dating a model
  • Meghan ofcourse, royalty