10 Reasons Why You Should Master the Art of Chitchat
Personally I’ve always been a talker. Pretty much every job I’ve had in my past involved a lot of interaction. Whether it was assisting clients or customers, I just generally enjoyed chatting with people. One in particular job I had was as a Bellman at a hotel in Center City. This job was all about the art of chitchat and small talk. Not only did my gift of the gab help me garner higher tips I was given perks such as event tickets and even job offers. However, not everyone is comfortable with speaking to strangers. I knew I was good at it but didn’t realize how critical this skill was until I came across an article in a popular magazine that centered around how the art of chitchat was dying. Essentially it boiled down to technology such as smartphones, iPods, and personal computers being the downfall of social interaction. So for those that may not realize the benefits of chitchatting. I give you 10 reasons why you should master the art of chitchat.
It Creates Opportunities
I remember when I worked in sales I was taking a flight to El Paso for training. Sitting next to me was an older gentleman. Just for kicks I started up a conversation with him. I learned he was in the military and worked in national defense. Not only did we share stories and laughs the whole flight, by the time we landed he asked me to shoot him a resume for a job in D.C. Looking back I kick myself in the ass for not taking him up on that offer but the moral of the story is that you never know what opportunities will present themselves. It could be an opportunity for a career, to make a sale, or a beneficial connection.
Checking Your Phone During Awkward Situations is for Teenagers
Yea, no one likes to be uncomfortable but what did people do before cell phones? Take advantage of a silent elevator ride, being one of the first people to an event, or any other situation that can make you a bit uneasy. Instead of acting like you’re texting or checking a voicemail, be a grown-up and introduce yourself. The conversation may not lead to anything life changing but it helps build character and gives you command of the room.
It Helps You Think on Your Feet
In a world where everything seems to be instant i.e instant coffee, movies on demand, and instant rice, being quick on your feet is a beneficial skills to have. This is especially true in the business world. When you chitchat with strangers you never know what response you’ll receive so responding to random statements and questions helps sharpen your thinking skills. As a trick you can also start to develop standard witty responses to certain topics and statements.
Everyone Loves a Great Story
Hey if you’re taking a trip on a bus, train, or plane why not kick-start a convo with someone sitting next to you. Going back to my plane ride to El Paso the gentlemen I was chitchatting with shared awesome military stories from his time in the service that I actually enjoyed. Next thing you know the ride was over. Of course not every story you’ll hear will be entertaining but everyone has a story and some of them just might be worthy of re-telling.
Add to Your Business Card Collection
As a salesman whenever I walked into a room I usually liked to leave with at least one business card. If you’re in a career where connections and networking is key, chitchatting on your personal time could be beneficial. Strike up a conversation in line at the market or at the airport while leaving for vacation, it doesn’t matter where. By the end of the convo always ask for a business card you never know when it could come in handy for business or even for personal reasons such as meeting a contractor for house repairs.
You Just Might Learn Something New
Aside from cool stories and business connections, chitchat can also lead to personal knowledge. You never know when the next person can drop a gem regarding business, religion, health, or even relationship advice. We’re not saying go up to random strangers and ask for advice but if you strike up enough conversations you could receive a small tidbit that can change your life.
Improve Your Confidence
Look, I get it talking to a random stranger can be a bit nerve-racking. However, that’s even more reason to chitchat. Why has talking to strangers become so terifying and intimating? Conquer those fears and build confidence at the same time. Eventually you’ll be a master at not only working a room but also create a way of speaking to individuals that commands respect.
It’s an Opportunity to Expand Your Vocab
A while ago I came across this app that gives you a “Word of the Day.” Generally $5 words that aren’t normally heard in everyday convo but were fun to say. Nonetheless if you’re advancing in your career or social circles it’s a good ideal to have an extensive vocab that you can utilize. Chitchatting with strangers is an opportunity to work in new words in everyday conversation until you become comfortable with them. So the next time you have to give a presentation at work and a fancy word rolls off your tongue effortlessly and used within proper context, you may raise an eye brow or two and get noticed.
It Can Actually Help You With Dating & Relationships
Going back to an earlier point chitchat builds confidence and as a man or woman you’ll need that in the dating circles. Whether it’s to approach women or to show a man you are to be respected, confidence is key to dating. In addition, for those in relationships it can help with communication. The better the communication is in a relationship the healthier it will be. So chitchat isn’t just about asking a stranger how their day is going, it’s actually benefiting yourself regardless if they are having a crappy day.
It Sharpens Your Interpersonal Skills
Last but not least and the most obvious reason, is interpersonal skills. It’s pretty much everything on the list rolled into one. It’s how you conduct yourself at work, home, and social situations. Not everyone is an extrovert or social butterfly but developing interpersonal skills will help get you further in life and also keep people from thinking you’re a serial killer. Eventually it will be almost second nature and you’ll think to yourself why you didn’t master the art of chitchat sooner.