As you enter a room filled with people, do you often find yourself wishing you were someplace else? It’s OK to admit it because most of us feel that way at least some of the time. Learning how to mingle and make small talk takes practice and advance planning.
In business, it’s essential to master the art of small talk to identify people you’d like to get to know better – and possibly do business with.
Author Susan RoAne calls the people who are really good at this “Magnificent Minglers.” In her book “The Secrets of Savvy Networking: How to Make the Best Connections for Business and Personal Success,she points out that experienced minglers seem to slide right into conversations without effort and they really listen. At events, other guests gravitate to them. In my experience, here are the characteristics of people who are successful at small talk.
- Show interest in you. When someone at a party comes up to you and says, “I’m so glad to meet you,” that’s bound to make you feel good, right? They don’t only seem to be interested, they are interested in what you have to say.
- Make you feel comfortable. This is part of being interested. They look you in the eye and give you their full attention. They are not looking over your shoulder for other people to meet.
- Offer to make connections. This is key. Sure they want to make new connections for themselves, but because they are skilled in drawing out your interests, they will connect you with people you’d like to meet.
- Convey confidence and enthusiasm. I talked about charisma in an earlier post. It’s that personal magnetism, that unmistakable star quality that captures people’s imagination. Not everyone has star quality, but they are enthusiastic about what you have to say, and this makes you feel good about them – and what they have to say.
- Are well informed. Magnificent Minglers are well rounded, and well-informed about current events. At any mixer, business or professional, it’s more interesting to talk about subjects other than just business – like new movies, celebrity happenings and news of the day. The interaction becomes more about building a relationship than selling a service.
- Follow up. Someone good at small talk and uncovering your interests offers to follow up by making an introduction, sending you an article about a favorite topic or inviting you to another business event. Magnificant Minglers follow up and we know that too many people do not.
Looking at these characteristics, do you feel you are a Magnificent Mingler? If your small talk skills need to be sharpened, then this list of characteristics may be a good place to start. Let us know in the comment section below if you have a small talk tip you’d like to add.