Some people just seem to have “the gift of gab” making the notion of small talk, effortless indeed. Meanwhile, others seem too never know quite what to say in any given situation, relying on one-word responses that are conversation killers. When studying this dilemma, two things come to the forefront. Why are some people gifted in creating small talk and putting their conversation partner at ease while others are painfully inept at this concept? Also, is this skill and lack of skill, inherent, or is it a skill that can be cultivated and perfected?

To the second question I respond, “Both.”

For as far back as mankind has been communicating, we know that the lack of communication or the inefficiencies in communication have always been barriers to effective communication. Whats interesting is, after all of these years, as our societies have developed we now have more forms of media with which to convey our thoughts and ideas than ever before in the history of mankind. However, I would propose that effective communication has suffered. Perhaps, we have too much to say today. But, yet, even in this world of “miscommunication”, there are those who transcend and are able to effectively communicate with others. What is their secret and can it be developed by others, the less fortunate, the “effective communication” challenged?

We know that the effortless communicators did not develop their skills while attending mandatory public schools in the United States. Never before has such an important concept (i.e. effective communication) been so neglected in our public education. Nevertheless, these “more than small talk” makers consistently excel and develop contacts, network lists and grow businesses all out of their skills in effective communication. But, it had nothing to do with what was learned at school. However, most of the great communicators had one big thing on their side-Mama and Daddy. Most effective communicators grew up understanding that as a people, we are in this thing together. So, you have to build relationships. Mama and Daddy did it and junior watched the process and subliminally absorbed the process. Junior was in effect, indoctrinated into this process.

So, where does that leave us, the small talk goofs, whose parents, were more reserved, perhaps even shy and did not see the benefits in social networking? Does that mean we have no hope in growing into effective communicators?

Not at all.

In fact, Ive listed below 10 ideas and suggestions for developing your small talk skills:

· Don’t bring up the subjects of politics or religion, unless you’re into the melee scene. · Hit the thesaurus daily. Take a couple of minutes each day for a month and think of some of the more mundane :) words you use each day and use the thesaurus to replace these words in your everyday language. I’m telling you, the difference between an average vocabulary and an impressive vocabulary is only about 50-75 words. Hint: don’t go overboard, you don’t want to overwhelm or turn-off your conversation partner. · Don’t make fun of others. Conversation giants don’t gloat over the gaffes of others, we’re not in middle school anymore. · Constantly do new things in your life. This can be something as simple as taking a new route home from work once a week. What does this do? It gives you a new perspective on things and it helps build your creativity. · Smile. But not too quickly or too much. Universally, the smile is the number one communication expression of the human race. It transcends languages which is a true testament to its power and effectiveness. Used too quickly or too often and it certainly loses its allure. · Be positive. Negative small talk or just negative conversation at any level is a big DRAG!! Negativity is the quickest way to earn a “poo-poo” reputation. · Stay away from cliches. I suppose one might be ok in certain circumstances but cliches are often used and used and used. Plus, everybody has heard them and you want to be interesting. · Keep a journal. How boring you say? The reason why you would want to keep a journal is to write down interesting stories and events that have taken place in your life. Re-visit the journal every couple of days and you’ll be amazed at the stories captured in the journal. These stories make for great and effortless small talk. · Get out and talk to all kinds of people. I realize that for some shyness may very well be one of the limiting factors. But you’ve got to start sometime. Plus, talking with various people will help you gain a new perspective on the thoughts and mental processes of others. · Build others up. For the love of Pete, don’t talk about yourself ad nauseum. Prod others into talking about themselves, you’ll be surprised at how much people love doing this and the great thing is, you just have to listen. And you’re a “Giant” in their eyes.

These are just a few of hundreds of exercises you can do to develop your conversation skills. Remember, effective communication and effortless small talk are both skills that can be developed, honed and sharpened in order to mold us into excellent communicators.