Small talk. So many people hate it. It can be uncomfortable and a little awkward. But to a shy person?? Small talk can be torture. I for sure struggled with it. How then did I become comfortable making small talk?
How to become comfortable making small talk
I’m sure long time readers are going to know what I am going to say. Since I talk about it every week. I’m sure I must sound like a broken record by now.
To become comfortable with small talk the key is to learn and practice mindfulness.
Before learning mindfulness I was really shy. Like REALLY shy. I had a hard time speaking to new people but I even struggled with talking to acquaintances. I only really felt comfortable around my close friends and family members but even around them I would sometimes be hesitant to speak up.
During conversations I would be in my head overanalyzing what I was going to say. I was to busy inside my own head to actually be in the conversation.
Anxiety about what I might say and how it might be perceived kept me from talking. Now, I’m not a mind reader so there was no way that I could actually know how it would be perceived. Of course my mind always went to the worst case scenario.
With mindfulness this all changed. Now I’m out of my head and actually present in the moment.
I still experience anxiety but now I go back to my practice and it really helps.
making small talk
The biggest shift has been since I started my Mindfulness training. In the last year I’ve had to travel to different places to complete each stage of the program. This involved meeting new people. Which of course means making small talk.
Being present can help with small talk because it means that you are actually listening to what the other person is saying. Then you can respond to what they are saying in a thoughtful way.
Being present also means that you are aware of what is happening for you in that moment. Maybe something they said triggers a thought for you? So then you can share that. We all lead busy and productive lives so there really is no shortage of things that we can talk about. Our latest trip. Something that happened at work. Or even sharing about the last book we read. When making small talk anything goes. Besides, I’m sure people would rather hear about the last book you’ve read rather than another conversation about the weather!
Networking = making connections
I’m a lot more comfortable speaking with new people than I was before. Joining the YPC at the ROM has helped with this a lot. Plus, I’ve been so busy over the last year I have a number of things that I can share about.
Now, I’m working on getting comfortable with putting myself out there. This is definitely outside my comfort zone!
Networking is a huge part of this. It’s why I’ve attending 2 blog conferences in the last year. At the Spark Sessions conference I attended a networking session where I was able to connect with brands. It was a great opportunity to push myself in the moment. I learned a lot and came away with a lot of business cards. And then did nothing with them.
But that is all going to change!! My goal for this year is to reach out and to make a connection with someone each week. It could be contacting a brand or even a fellow blogger. Connections in this (or any) industry are always a good thing to have.
Taking the first step
I’ve already started. I was scrolling through Instagram and I came across a post on how to grow you IG from a blogger I had met at Spark Sessions. One of her tips was to meet up with other bloggers. I commented on her IG post she replied and then I figured, “why not?” and asked if she wanted to grab a coffee.
Putting yourself out there is not easy. Especially when you used to be shy and still experience anxiety. I was hesitant but then I just decided to bite the bullet and ask. The worst thing that could happen was that she would say no.
She didn’t though. We made arrangements to meet up a few days later and it was great! We talked about blogging of course because no one else understands our crazy journeys. We also talked about life and our other jobs.
The biggest thing I took from this coffee chat was when she told me that even though she has never been shy, putting herself out there was hard for her too.
Being more comfortable with making small talk is about being in the moment. It’s about moving away from fear and just doing it anyway.
I’ve only just begun at putting myself out there. It’s scary as heck but it’s something I am definitely going to continue to do. The rewards are so worth it. When you ask for something, sure you might hear no, but what if instead you get a yes??