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The Serious Business of Small Talk: Becoming Fluent, Comfortable, and Charming

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You walk into a room full of strangers and immediately freeze-wait, no you don't! Instead, you start some light, easy banter with the group of people closest to you. Then you move on to another group. By the end, you leave with a whole new set of connections. No communication skill is more important in the world than small talk, says communication coach Carol Fleming. It's You walk into a room full of strangers and immediately freeze-wait, no you don't! Instead, you start some light, easy banter with the group of people closest to you. Then you move on to another group. By the end, you leave with a whole new set of connections. No communication skill is more important in the world than small talk, says communication coach Carol Fleming. It's how you negotiate the beginning of all relationships. What's more, Fleming reveals that, contrary to what most people say, they actually love small talk. It's just the bit about strangers that throws them off. Small talk with strangers is a skill-one Fleming has taught to scores of avowed wallflowers. She covers everything from the right attitude to how to dress, move around, and introduce yourself. Most importantly, she lays out a series of simple, memorable conversational strategies that make it easy to go from Nice weather we're having to a genuine, rewarding give-and-take.


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You walk into a room full of strangers and immediately freeze-wait, no you don't! Instead, you start some light, easy banter with the group of people closest to you. Then you move on to another group. By the end, you leave with a whole new set of connections. No communication skill is more important in the world than small talk, says communication coach Carol Fleming. It's You walk into a room full of strangers and immediately freeze-wait, no you don't! Instead, you start some light, easy banter with the group of people closest to you. Then you move on to another group. By the end, you leave with a whole new set of connections. No communication skill is more important in the world than small talk, says communication coach Carol Fleming. It's how you negotiate the beginning of all relationships. What's more, Fleming reveals that, contrary to what most people say, they actually love small talk. It's just the bit about strangers that throws them off. Small talk with strangers is a skill-one Fleming has taught to scores of avowed wallflowers. She covers everything from the right attitude to how to dress, move around, and introduce yourself. Most importantly, she lays out a series of simple, memorable conversational strategies that make it easy to go from Nice weather we're having to a genuine, rewarding give-and-take.

30 review for The Serious Business of Small Talk: Becoming Fluent, Comfortable, and Charming

  1. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Actually a noteworthy little book :) Lots of audiobook mistakes though Notes: - Speak clearly, speak easily but not too much especially when others want their turn, do not interrupt, be courteous, deal seriously with serious matters and gravely with flatter ones, never criticize people behind their backs, stick to subjects of general interest, do not talk about yourself, never lose your temper - Dale Carnegie rules: become genuinely interested in other people, smile, remember people’s names, be a g Actually a noteworthy little book :) Lots of audiobook mistakes though Notes: - Speak clearly, speak easily but not too much especially when others want their turn, do not interrupt, be courteous, deal seriously with serious matters and gravely with flatter ones, never criticize people behind their backs, stick to subjects of general interest, do not talk about yourself, never lose your temper - Dale Carnegie rules: become genuinely interested in other people, smile, remember people’s names, be a good listener, talk in terms of the other persons interests, make the other person feel important and do it sincerely - Anchor (opening line, can be a neutral topic like the weather which is a common reality for everyone), reveal (say something about yourself offer information to establish trust), - Don’t say a vague word or thing like up North or a city say exactly where and it gives others a chance to connect - Put out some bate and wear a fancy hat or a brooch so someone else has easy access to talk to you - Knowledge on a topic is gold in a conversation - When you’re in a new social setting like a party make it a self fulfilling prophecy of expectations, make a warm welcome and smile. If you fear rejection that is what you’ll get - Handshakes are important practice on a friend, make sure the web of your palm touches theirs - When introducing yourself say clearly Hi my name is Leah, instead of Hi I’m Leah, “my name is” gives the other person a chance to process what’s coming. If your name is rare different uncommon then say it slowly and clearly or even say my name is uncommon in —— my name is ——. - After you say hi my name is, offer a tidbit of who you are in the setting, hi I’m Leah sister of the groom, hi I’m Leah a friend of Dan - Of you’re circulating the room and need to leave current convo just say nice talking to you and cheers, or wrap it up with let’s make a meeting to discuss further or a follow up

  2. 5 out of 5

    Denise みか Hutchins

    Aside from a few typographical errors in my copy, this book was EXCELLENT. When I picked it up at the bookstore, I already had a vague understanding of what I needed to change in myself to improve my ability to connect with others. This book helped me move onto the next step. Now, instead of thinking, "I wish I could be better at talking to people," I know exactly what skills I need to learn, adjust, and practice to make my wish come true! The author knows what she's talking about when, in chapt Aside from a few typographical errors in my copy, this book was EXCELLENT. When I picked it up at the bookstore, I already had a vague understanding of what I needed to change in myself to improve my ability to connect with others. This book helped me move onto the next step. Now, instead of thinking, "I wish I could be better at talking to people," I know exactly what skills I need to learn, adjust, and practice to make my wish come true! The author knows what she's talking about when, in chapter two, she tells the reader to give the book to someone else if they aren't "willing to make the effort to achieve fluency" in these skills. Throughout my read, I kept seeing my old self, from high school, from my twenties, all these scenarios that happened to me (and because of me) and that no longer happen because I have since become open to change and open to others. I used to be one of those people who mocked and actively avoided small talk because I found it mundane, beneath me. But, before I even knew of this book's existence, I realized my reasoning was all wrong. Small talk wasn't an indulgence of the inferior, it was an essential social skill I entirely lacked due to my upbringing, and which was therefore mysterious and terrifying. I believe the reason I was able to gain so much from "The Serious Business of Small Talk" is that I had already moved past that stumbling block to self-improvement. The author knew it was a problem for people, hence her message. So, while this book is infinitely helpful if you're ready to take the plunge and start improving your communication skills, your relationships, and ultimately your happiness, if you still haven't gotten past the, "It's not me, it's them," mentality, I'm afraid there's not much here for you. This book was written for people like me, who are not just willing to improve themselves, but who are anxious to do so. If that sounds like you, what are you waiting for? Go find a copy and get reading!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kira Aaron

    Mostly useful information. I listened to the author’s recording of the audiobook, and I found many of the anecdotes and much of the delivery condescending in tone and nature. The tips for interaction, though, are generally helpful.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jules

    I got made fun of a little for my love of self-help books. What, like you're just going to become a better human by yourself? I only have 90 years on this planet, man, I'm in a hurry. Anyhow, this is a fairly basic book that I got in a bundle. I meant to just leaf through it, but I ended up reading it. The author states that small talk is important because it's the first step to make them's into us'es. Since our society is rife with problems that stem from an "us vs them" mindset, I thought that I got made fun of a little for my love of self-help books. What, like you're just going to become a better human by yourself? I only have 90 years on this planet, man, I'm in a hurry. Anyhow, this is a fairly basic book that I got in a bundle. I meant to just leaf through it, but I ended up reading it. The author states that small talk is important because it's the first step to make them's into us'es. Since our society is rife with problems that stem from an "us vs them" mindset, I thought that was very interesting. It kept me going throughout the book. I didn't learn much I wasn't already intuitively doing, but I love people who systemize normal mode of interaction for other people who might not find it as intuitive as we do.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Adelina Stanciu

    Read it in Romanian and not in the best translation, but the book offers useful and easy to apply information without try to be groundbreaking. I think it could be a useful read especially for students or people at their first job. And a quote that i liked " you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with". Apparently this is by A. Lincoln but i first read it in this book. Read it in Romanian and not in the best translation, but the book offers useful and easy to apply information without try to be groundbreaking. I think it could be a useful read especially for students or people at their first job. And a quote that i liked " you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with". Apparently this is by A. Lincoln but i first read it in this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Made some good points about the value of smalltalk, how to approach strangers and handle your introduction. Some may find the advice obvious, but I'm autistic so to me this enlightening. I don't know how much I'll put the provided advice into practice; conversing with strangers who just happen to be around seems a tad inefficient way to meet people and a little random. But there are times when I *do* want strike up a conversation, and the instructions this short book provide sound reasonable and Made some good points about the value of smalltalk, how to approach strangers and handle your introduction. Some may find the advice obvious, but I'm autistic so to me this enlightening. I don't know how much I'll put the provided advice into practice; conversing with strangers who just happen to be around seems a tad inefficient way to meet people and a little random. But there are times when I *do* want strike up a conversation, and the instructions this short book provide sound reasonable and effective. It was worth the time I spent reading it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This book had a lot of helpful advice, but more importantly it emphasized the importance of small talk as a smooth "on ramp" for meaningful conversation, an important tool for building bridges and comfort between strangers in a world that can feel cold and disconnected, and a way to show love by giving simple time and attention to people we already know well. This book had a lot of helpful advice, but more importantly it emphasized the importance of small talk as a smooth "on ramp" for meaningful conversation, an important tool for building bridges and comfort between strangers in a world that can feel cold and disconnected, and a way to show love by giving simple time and attention to people we already know well.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Prashant Gupta

    A good read I enjoyed the book and realised that small talk is actually Big. This is something which almost everyone ignores but it has big implications on overall personality. This book would definitely help in lowering social anxiety and enable you to become better at those tricky intital conversations

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hans

    Tags: self help, conversation Has lots of specific ideas for individual improvement, focused on acknowledging and respecting the other participant(s) in a conversation. The "acknowledge-reveal-encourage" idea is particularly useful in my experience. Tags: self help, conversation Has lots of specific ideas for individual improvement, focused on acknowledging and respecting the other participant(s) in a conversation. The "acknowledge-reveal-encourage" idea is particularly useful in my experience.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Kulyashova

    Понравилась отдельная глава о том, как вырастить ребёнка общительным. Ранее нигде такого не встречала.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maciej Borowik

    The book contains a few remarks about gender communication styles that I found really interesting. There is also a chapter about talking with children, activity that I find highly problematic in general (possible because I have no children of my own and I find it hard to find common ground with other people's kids). Unfortunately I didn't really find many answers to my questions. Moreover, I was rather disappointed with the lack of in-depth discussion of most subjects. The book seems to be a col The book contains a few remarks about gender communication styles that I found really interesting. There is also a chapter about talking with children, activity that I find highly problematic in general (possible because I have no children of my own and I find it hard to find common ground with other people's kids). Unfortunately I didn't really find many answers to my questions. Moreover, I was rather disappointed with the lack of in-depth discussion of most subjects. The book seems to be a collection of common sense advice on listening and manners, with the main focus being encouragement for the socially anxious to start having casual conversations. Perhaps it is going to be of help to some but I didn't experience any great revelation myself.

  12. 4 out of 5

    NkA

    Knyga lengvai skaitoma. Pačioje pradžioje autorė pabrėžia, kad lengvo pokalbio galima išmokti ir to išmokstama tik darant. Reikalingi 3 žingsniai pokalbiui: pradėti pokalbį neutralia tema iš bendros aplinkos, pasidalinti kažka susijusio su tavimi ir atviru klausimu padrasinti pašnekova tolimesniam pokalbiui, kuris gali tapti gilesnis. Visa tai sustiprinama kitais dalykais, kaip pvz. šypsena, bendra veikla, įdomia patirtimi, kuria gali pasidalinti, ir kitais. Knyga paliko gero įvado ‘small talk’ t Knyga lengvai skaitoma. Pačioje pradžioje autorė pabrėžia, kad lengvo pokalbio galima išmokti ir to išmokstama tik darant. Reikalingi 3 žingsniai pokalbiui: pradėti pokalbį neutralia tema iš bendros aplinkos, pasidalinti kažka susijusio su tavimi ir atviru klausimu padrasinti pašnekova tolimesniam pokalbiui, kuris gali tapti gilesnis. Visa tai sustiprinama kitais dalykais, kaip pvz. šypsena, bendra veikla, įdomia patirtimi, kuria gali pasidalinti, ir kitais. Knyga paliko gero įvado ‘small talk’ tema, neradau nieko per daug naujo, ko nežinočiau.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Lauritzen

    This is an excellent handbook on how to chat comfortably with people, known or unknown, on how to make and nurture social connection. At only 178 pages, it outlines and gives examples on how to practice many of the social skills and cues that make up what we call “small talk“, a form of connection and communication that is much more significant than it’s sometimes considered. The style is engaging and to the point, relevant and just light enough. Whether a primer or a review, depending on the re This is an excellent handbook on how to chat comfortably with people, known or unknown, on how to make and nurture social connection. At only 178 pages, it outlines and gives examples on how to practice many of the social skills and cues that make up what we call “small talk“, a form of connection and communication that is much more significant than it’s sometimes considered. The style is engaging and to the point, relevant and just light enough. Whether a primer or a review, depending on the reader, it’s well done. Highly recommend.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Swanger

    While definitely not a cure for social anxiety and extreme shyness, it will offer better understanding as to why small talk is important and beneficial, as well as some tips and tricks to help keep the conversation going.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Han Boon

    Practical book for introverts who find it difficult to network and make small talks. Easy to read and simple frameworks to remember.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cara Lembo

    Informative and a plus for anyone in business communication positions

  17. 5 out of 5

    Valery Dostovalova

    Читала урывками с телефона. Читается быстро. У кого нет проблем с коммуникациями, не стоит тратить время. Но интроверту пригодится. Но пока читала, в голове всплыли образы некоторых знакомых мне разработчиков. Если нужен минимум хороших манер и коммуникативных скиллов, то книга нанесёт пользу. Заинтересовала мысль: мини-беседа - это не трата времени, а способ сказать миру, что ты готов общаться, и прощупать, что интересно собеседнику. Другая мысль: как помочь собеседнику запомнить твоё имя и тебя. Л Читала урывками с телефона. Читается быстро. У кого нет проблем с коммуникациями, не стоит тратить время. Но интроверту пригодится. Но пока читала, в голове всплыли образы некоторых знакомых мне разработчиков. Если нужен минимум хороших манер и коммуникативных скиллов, то книга нанесёт пользу. Заинтересовала мысль: мини-беседа - это не трата времени, а способ сказать миру, что ты готов общаться, и прощупать, что интересно собеседнику. Другая мысль: как помочь собеседнику запомнить твоё имя и тебя. Лично мне полезно - постоянно забываю имена и людей. Как войти в разговор, как выйти из разговора - так чтобы не выставить себя идиотом или похуже. Полезно. 19 глава - ровно про мою семью. Теперь обязательно обсуждаем фильмы и новости и собираемся раз в неделю. Улучшились коммуникации, появились взаимные интересы.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Юля Васильева

    Самая коротка рецензия от Васильевой: small talk — это прикольно, если воспринимать его не как пустой разговор. Микробеседа — это всего лишь мостик к другому человеку, что бы понять нужно ли общаться дальше. Все остальное: помесь из Дейла Карнеги, советов как стать долбанным экстравертом, а еще каких-то дурацких сексистских и сносбских рекомендаций. Пипец, товарищи.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This covers the bare minimums of the whys and hows of making small talk. I would have liked it to be much more comprehensive, but since I got it cheaply from Humble Bundle, I guess I ain't really complaining. I can confirm that it's indeed better than what you'd get by just searching online for random articles. This covers the bare minimums of the whys and hows of making small talk. I would have liked it to be much more comprehensive, but since I got it cheaply from Humble Bundle, I guess I ain't really complaining. I can confirm that it's indeed better than what you'd get by just searching online for random articles.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dmitry

    Нормально для «освежения» в памяти данной темы, но, в целом, набор известных практик.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eden Parker

    Nothing new or enlightening. Early on the author seemed to be bragging about herself in a very snobbish manor, which turned me off of wanting to listen to anything else she had to say.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Roman Kukin

    Всё по верхам, много рекламы своих услуг. Повторы других авторов по теме. Основная мысль, что разговоры о мелочах типа погоды - классно помогают установить контакт.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jekaterina Sapovalova

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sergey Komar

  26. 4 out of 5

    Юрий Соколов

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anca Nagy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lukas

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie

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