Business Networking requires Small Talk (and I don’t mean the computer language). Part of being good at networking is being able to make small talk. You do not have to be an “Expert” but you need to be able to field and respond to small talk and if at all possible get the conversation out of the small talk zone and onto something much more interesting (Big talk?). Keep it interesting, informative and memorable.
Interesting = Memorable.
How are you? How’s work? How’s your week? What’s new? What have you been up to? It’s literally small talk. And of course the most popular small talk topic of the moment “Got any holidays planned?”
Small talk can be strained. It can be fake. And you almost never enjoy it. Yes you have to exchange a few pleasantries and at networking events small talk can be a safe conversation starter. However, your companion will thank you for moving on swiftly (provided you can find some common (and engaging) ground).
“Got any holidays planned?”
This is an easy conversation starter. I am currently being asked this question on a daily basis. I am having regular conversations about holidays with a lot of contacts and in fact it is so overwhelming that I can’t remember where everyone is going (it is useful to write it down if you think this information is worth remembering for a particular contact).
However, it is important to remember that conversations about holidays can also make people feel uncomfortable. For example: if they have no holidays planned or can’t afford a holiday. Equally, some people see this type of small talk competitive – and try to up each other with cool or expensive holidays. So it is important to consider your audience.
That said, if you are going to a location where your companion has visited you can walk away with some great tips and recommendations and sharing some information can be a great post-event follow up action point.
So if you are talking about holidays – don’t make it just “Where are you going on holiday?” open up the conversation and learn more.