Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Fine Art of Small Talk

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Fine Art of Small Talk

How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills - and Leave a Positive Impression!


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Learn how to use small talk to ease your way into social situations and optimize your networking opportunities.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Have you ever watched suave social butterflies in action? They effortlessly work a room, leaving everyone they encounter feeling flattered, charmed and energized. Communications expert Debra Fine unabashedly studied these golden few extroverts while hiding in the corners of various business functions. She then asked, researched and answered the question, "How do they do it?" In this analysis of "the fine art of small talk," Fine shares the secrets of how to introduce yourself, make a connection, and initiate and sustain a meaningful conversation. She offers techniques for developing active listening skills, getting referrals, avoiding awkward moments and even surviving a first date. She provides lists of conversation starters, icebreakers and follow-up questions. Although many of her examples seem stilted and disingenuous, the basic advice is solid. getAbstract suggests this book to anyone whose stomach clenches at the thought of entering a room full of strangers.


Chance Encounters

Casual conversations take place throughout the day, whether you are at the office, your child's baseball practice, a dental appointment or a religious service. You cannot avoid contact with other people. Yet, these chance encounters make many people anxious. You don't have to dread social events or spontaneous interactions if you learn a few simple techniques to improve your conversational skills.

Why Talk Small?

Those who have mastered small talk make others feel warm, welcome, at ease and valued. This social skill is crucial in developing and enriching business relationships, beginning a romance or making a friend. Never underestimate the value of an exchange that makes a person feel appreciated and acknowledged.

Developing strong conversational skills will improve your leadership capabilities, reduce your fear of unfamiliar social situations, increase your confidence, and help you form new friendships and business alliances.

How to Begin

Few people will actually reject you for initiating a conversation. Most are grateful to the person who starts an exchange. So take the risk. The next time you are at a wedding or a networking...

About the Author

Debra Fine once dreaded social situations, but now she gives "Small Talk" workshops. Her clients include major companies and financial institutions.

Comment on this summary