The Ultimate Guide to Small Talk: Small Talk Meaning, Questions, Topics, and More!

small talk meaning

Placed next to a stranger in a gathering who doesn’t seem to be very much inviting for a chat can almost be a paralyzing experience.

Only those social butterflies who know how to ace it with small talk topics can fill the air with pleasant chit-chat, and for the rest, that fear gives chills.

small talk meaning

We are sure you all must have gone through the same at some point in your life and wouldn’t want the same scene to happen again.

So if, by any chance, the thought of avoiding social gatherings crosses your mind because you feel it’s not your thing, here’s this ultimate guide on small talk meaning with some solutions that would definitely help you lose up a bit.

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What Is Small Talk?

Small talk, or say phatic communication is a light-hearted exchange of words between two or more people in a social setting, say a party, wedding, dinner, lunch, informal meeting, etc.

The significance of small talk in our day-to-day life is not discussed much, but it undoubtedly holds a vital position that is important for our social being.

It defines our relationship and compatibility with others, especially acquaintances.

small talk questions

Let’s jump into 9 impactful ways of making your small talk meaningful and interesting.

Ask WHY and HOW Questions In The Conversation

Try to always shift your small introspection conversation from WHAT to WHY and HOW. The reason being WHAT questions always have a straightforward answer, and they fail to give you an insight into the other person’s perspective.

On the other hand, WHY and HOW questions can easily narrow the dialogue.

Example: What happened yesterday? Whatever happened yesterday, why do you think it was necessary? Can you see the difference?

To conclude, small talks can lead to thoughtful responses if the right question is asked in the right way at the right time.

Small Convos Can Be Interesting Too With Smart Small Talk Questions

To start with, asking general and boring questions like ‘how was your day,’ ‘what do you do,’ ‘where are you from,’ etc., must be avoided.

To jump into an interesting conversation, you should be interested too. If you aren’t feeling interesting, you won’t be able to lead one.

small talk topics

Therefore, simply twist questions, and you are good to go. For example, try ‘what’s the best thing that has happened to you today,’ ‘what’s the most interesting part of your profession,’ and so on. That way, things would automatically turn into something you both would enjoy.

Keep Adding Tidbits

The conversation shouldn’t at any point feel like an interrogation or something that turns out to be forced with too many questions.

Rather what you can do is, keep adding anecdotes relevant to the topic that turns the conversation juicy.

Ask For Advice

We all love giving advice, don’t we? Likewise, we love it when someone asks for advice they think we are the right person for.

Asking for advice from the one you are trying to get into a conversation is a bang on move.

It’s an excellent method to keep the conversation rolling because it’s a fact that people absolutely love to talk about themselves, and it makes them happy.

To back it with some studies, it is unveiled that talking about oneself gives the same happiness as having your favorite food, having sex, etc.

Therefore, use your chance wisely if you are trying to ace small talks in any social setting.

Try Not To Talk Mostly About YOUR Favorite Topic

It’s a common misconception that talking non-stop about your favorite topic makes the other person talk too. It’s not the case.

Doesn’t matter if it’s the most interesting topic in the world; if it’s your favorite and not theirs, it’s a total turn-off.

what is small talk

This situation leads to you talking more, and they talking almost nothing, not an ideal small talk situation. You must listen enough too, and that brings us to our next point.

More Listening And Less Talking

Communication is a two-way thing, but sometimes more listening is the need of the hour. Listen more and pay attention to what they are saying, and even try to understand their non-verbal gestures.

The best way to respond here would be to rephrase some of their points only to blend it with those three magical words TELL ME MORE.

It gives a clear impression of you being interested in the conversation they are passionate about.

Always and always try to encourage elaboration rather than bare bones. Even when you are asked questions, be a bit elaborate too, and that would be like passing on information from one to another will equal enthusiasm.

Follow The Traffic Light Conversation Rule

To put it in simple terms, this rule says know when to talk and zip your mouth.

small talk topics

The best one here would be to follow the 20 seconds rule.

The majority of the conversation goes like this suppose when you are talking:

  • In the initial 20 seconds, you will be the most relatable with the topic and the listener is totally engulfed in what you have to say.
  • Then comes the next 20 seconds, where there are high chances that the listener is beginning to lose their interest.
  • When it finally touches the 40-second mark, and you’re still chatting, it’s the red light time that says, please stop now.

Having said that, there could be times when all those 60 seconds are worth it when you’re talking. But the majority of the time, you should stop before the danger alarm.

Remember, Your Body Talks Too

There is a set of positive and negative body language that you must take care of. Eye contact, sincere nodding, smiles, etc., gives out a message that you’re into it.

Nothing is capable of killing the entire conversation vibe with a body language that states otherwise.

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Forget Your Phone For A While Unless It’s Really Urgent

This one goes without saying. Absence of a mobile phone adds on to the quality of the conversation!

10 Small Talk Topics: Best And Worst


  1. Weather
  2. Arts and entertainment
  3. Sports
  4. Family
  5. Food
  6. Work
  7. Travel
  8. Celebrity Gossip
  9. Hobbies
  10. Hometown


  1. Finances
  2. Religion
  3. Politics
  4. Sex
  5. Death
  6. Appearance
  7. Personal gossip
  8. Offensive jokes
  9. Past relationship
  10. Health

The Bottom Line!

A good small conversation with a good person can significantly impact you in all ways possible. You might not notice it much, though, but it makes you happier, you feel more confident, it opens your mind, you learn, and it boosts your spirit too.

Therefore, have 3-4 weekly small talk topics ready with you and try to indulge in a conversation as often as possible.

Let us know in the comments below how it benefited you.

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