Let’s start with an uncomfortable truth: small talk is good for you.

It helps you to work. At least some small element of every job is social, and the more you know about your clients, colleagues, or audience – the more you intuit from the minutiae of banal interaction – the better you adjust to the project needs.

It makes you happier. Or at least, small talk may seem like torture at the time, but passing the time of day with a stranger gives a sense of fulfilment.

And it improves your well-being. We’re pack animals. Sure, we need to manage the booms and busts of our social energy – but in perpetual isolation, we wither.

Here’s another truth: you can’t avoid small talk forever! But small talk is not all born equal. The most torturous small talk is when neither party fully commits. On the other hand, take a deep breath and step right in – and you might just come out of it alive.

Small talk is not all born equal. Click To Tweet

For introverts, that’s easier said than done. Our brains aren’t excitedly wired for quick-fire chit-chat. But we have a secret weapon: preparation. Sure, you never know quite what subject or point of view is going to emerge in your next elevator encounter. But you can build a framework to deal with whatever comes at you.

The good people at OnStride have created a complete guide to doing just that: figuring out in advance how to survive and even benefit from small talk. Spend ten minutes going over it now, and that next 30-second elevator ride won’t feel like a lifetime!

Article by G. John Cole

G. John Cole

John writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. A digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and pets, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.