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Smalltalk auf Englisch - Fünf Schritte zum effektiven Smalltalk

Schlagwörter: Smalltak Englisch; Smalltalk auf Englisch - Fünf Schritte zum effektiven Smalltalk

Good small talk is more than just idle chatter about the weather, the event you’re attending or the presentation you’ve just heard. Whenever you engage in small talk, chances are the topic that is most obvious or that “starts itself” is no more than a good starting point. To get small talk to be effective, you have to work at it, because small talk has a purpose.

What is that purpose, you might ask, if it’s not just to be friendly and fill the time? Some might say the real purpose of small talk is to get the other person to talk about himself, thus making him like you. While inviting ( or forcing ) the other person to talk is a good technique, the actual goal of small talk is one you might not believe, and one many might disagree with: to make yourself memorable. Yes, good small talk is, in a way, a way to talk about yourself and about how wonderful you are. But there’s a catch: you have to do it without talking about yourself or boasting. Unfortunately, there are too many business people who love to talk about themselves and every exhausting detail of their lives ad nauseam. This isn’t small talk, it’s torture.
So if you want to do it right, here are five tips that will bring you five steps closer to success.

Tip 1: Be extra friendly
To be good at small talk, you have to enjoy talking to people. Even if you say you don’t like talking to people, most people do. Maybe you’re the type who will talk to every stranger on the bus, or maybe the thought of talking to a stranger is enough to make you pee your pants but you can still talk to your neighbour at length. Either way, you enjoy conversation. There are few people who truly don’t.

So assuming you’re the type who does, it’s a pretty good bet you’d like to think your conversation partner is enjoying the conversation too. To set the stage, you need to be accommodating and create a friendly, gracious atmosphere:

Please, have a seat!
How was your flight?
May I offer you something? A cup of coffee?
Let’s forget the formalities, shall we?
It’s so nice to have you with us again.
I appreciate you sacrificing your valuable time to speak with me.

Tip 2: Compliments
Compliments are always good, and if you know the other person, be sure to make one. If you’ve just met someone, on the other hand, it’s best to keep your compliments indirect. In such cases, “Wow, what a nice dress you’re wearing” might be received as having all the sincerity of “Gee, grandma, what big teeth you have”. Instead, compliment the other person’s country, city, company, product or car:

I’ve never been to Northern England before. The countryside is breathtaking!

Tip 3: Be memorable
If you entered the room with a flourish of trumpets, you might not need to worry about this issue, but really, most people have difficulty remembering names. The other person might remember your name while he’s looking at you, but as soon as the next face is demanding his attention you’ll have gone the way of Quasimodo: he’ll have forgotten your name, but your face will ring a bell.
The best way to handle this situation is to develop a few “name anchors” for yourself and use them. For example:

My name’s Andreas. Andrea’s a common name for a woman in your country, isn’t it? In Germany, we add an ‘s’ and it’s a man’s name.

My name’s Thomas. Sometimes my kids call me Thomas the Train.

Don’t worry about making yourself look silly. If you can do this and be entertaining at the same time, your name anchor will be even more effective.

Tip 4: Build a bridge
Now that the other person feels at ease, it’s time to make a connection. Here’s where you focus in on your common experience:

Have you ever stayed in this hotel before?
This conference centre is really modern, isn’t it?
Is this your first time in London?
Do you often attend tradeshows like this one?

If you can’t think of material, ask about the room: the colour, the light level, the size, anything. And if you can’t think of anything, yes, it’s OK to ask the granddaddy of all small talk questions:

Nasty weather we’re having, isn’t it?

Tip 5: Don’t be a yes-man
Show you’re a yes-man in conversation and you’ll immediately brand yourself as forgettable. So take a stand. How? Easy. Don’t be afraid to disagree. Professionals know how to disagree politely. Think about it. If someone disagrees with you and he’s not nice about it, you remember it forquite some time. Negatively. But chances are someone who has disagreed in a nice way will have left a much better impression. A different, but intelligent person. Socially skilled. State your contrary opinion by softening the ground first:

I think it stands to reason that …
I’m afraid I see things a bit differently …
I’m not sure about that, but from my perspective, I’d say that …
Well, I’m no expert, but if I had to voice an opinion on that it would be a bit different …
I’d rather like to think that people are …
Well, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.
Different strokes for different folks, right?

If you find yourself disagreeing in small talk, chances are you’re better off changing the subject. How? Just build another bridge.

Tip 6: Modesty is the best policy
So now the other person knows your name, remembers your name, regards you as friendly, remembers sharing an experience with you and knows you’re a true professional and not the garden-variety yes-man. Now it’s time to go for the gold: boast – but for heaven’s sake, do it without boasting. The best way to do that is to bring the impact of your achievements down from their stellar level to a human level. Use minimising words like a bit, a little, some, not exactly and rather:

I know a bit about computer networking.
I’m not exactly an amateur in sales.

Minimise your adjectives by reversing them:

Excellent -> not bad
Highly experienced -> not inexperienced
First class -> not bad at all

Schlagwörter: Smalltak Englisch; Smalltalk auf Englisch - Fünf Schritte zum effektiven Smalltalk

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