Small Talk

Small Talk Tips

Dr. Andrea Luxton

Dr. Andrea Luxton was the sixth president of Andrews University. She joined the faculty in 2010 and served as provost until July 1, 2016. She served as the first female president of Andrews University between 2016 and 2023. She also holds the rank of professor of English in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Small talk tips:

• Active listening
• Assume that all humans are interesting and unique and that can be shared
• Be confident to share and say something
• Why is small talk important? 
    o Levelling ground
    o Build up relationship especially in a work setting
    o Connects you to the professional environment
    o See it as an opportunity to enrich who you are and learn new things
    o Help you professionally—you need to be able to walk into a situation and make conversation with someone you don’t know; you need to act comfortable; convey that you’re interesting and they are interesting
    o Helps you broaden your friendships and interests
    o Can use small talk to diffuse tension / change mood
• What do you do when you enter a room full of people?
• Recognize that everyone else is in the same situation—anxious, awkward, fearful of not fitting in.
• How do we position ourselves to start conversation?
    o Smile, make eye contact, go up and introduce yourself
    o Come across as open
    o Use an open question
    o Pose questions
    o Weather can be a starting point
    o Use context of why you’re in the same room
    o Use your environment as a cue
    o Go with 3 or 4 questions in your head
    o Find common interest
    o Active listening
    o We can speak 150-200 words per minute
    o We can process up to 300 word per minute
    o This means that your mind can be planning your next statement or question.
    o You care about what someone is saying; you’re choosing to focus and pay attention.
    o Use non-verbal communication:  nodding, lean forward, don’t cross your arms, don’t stare them down, keep your arms out and open.
• What do you do at the end of your conversation?
    o Get contact information
    o Share card
    o Let’s connect on FB
    o Don’t just walk away