Small talk - chatter on common topics between not very familiar people. Typically, we encounter this kind of conversation at social events, parties and business meetings. A conversation in line to see a doctor, a conversation with a neighbor on an airplane, or a barista in a cafe are also examples of small talk.
The ability to conduct small talk is both self-presentation and a manifestation of respect for others.
Try to find common interests or find something that unites you at the moment, for example, an event you met at or the person who invited you. If at first glance there are no unifying topics, remember the latest news and hot topics that are discussed by the public: from premieres of new films to global warming. Being careful with politics is a taboo topic for small talk.
Weather is the most neutral and safest option for small talk. It is difficult to imagine how an argument begins between the interlocutors because of rain or early snow. Everyone discusses the weather and there is always something to say about it.
A compliment, sincere and appropriate, is another way to start a casual conversation. People are generous with them: the barista in the cafe will praise your outfit, the stranger at the intersection will appreciate the hairstyle, and in the park everyone will smile at your cute corgi.
Demonstrate interest to the interlocutor: ask him or her about their hometown or the reasons why he or she was at this event / in this cafe / in this queue. Ask open-ended questions - those that can be answered in detail, and not just dismiss the simple "yes" and "no". Choose general topics for conversation, not personal ones - be unobtrusive and polite. Avoid giving advice, criticizing, or complaining about your problems. Be an active listener, avoid interrupting and maintain eye contact. Remember body language: If you are standing with your arms crossed and staring at the floor, the conversation will definitely not stick together. And don’t forget to put your phone down!