How to Showcase your Communication Skills During a Job Interview

how to act during an interview

A job interview always brings out the fear in most people and it is the one thing that will decide if the interview is a success or not.

The information on your resume will only get you so far in the interview process. It will often come down to the communications skills you demonstrate that may well be the deciding factor when the employer decides who to hire.

It is all about the Conversation

A job interview should not just be a question and answer format. Questions and answers tend to be awkward, and results in a minimal amount of information being passed back and forth. It often does not allow you to shine and bring your best self forward.

The best way to turn an interview into a conversation is to end your answers by posing a question. For instance, if the interviewer asks you about a certain software program, speak about your experience with the software and the different applications and projects where you have used it. Follow up that answer by asking how you would be using that software in the position for which you hope to be hired.

By asking questions throughout the interview, you will demonstrate your interest in the position and the company, as well as your knowledge about the industry in general. Ask for specific details as questions are being asked, such as the number of groups you will expected to interface with and what your role will be when a new product is about to go from the design to marketing stage. Do not monopolize the conversation. If the interviewer feels like he, or she is being interviews, your chance of being hired might be over before it starts.

Be a good Listener

Communication is all about listening as much as it is talking and writing. Listening to the interviewer will give you the opportunity to learn about the company and the job being discussed. It will give you the opportunity to zoom in on the details and use them to highlight how you will match up and be the best fit for the company.

Listening carefully will also help identify areas where the company is experiencing problems. That will give you the opportunity to describe how you can be part of the solution instead of being an extension of the problem. Taking notes will also help identify areas of concern for you, and act as a reminder to address those issues at the right time or bring the conversation back to those points to make your point.

Keep it Short and Concise

Short and focused answers are preferable to long rambling answers. The short and focused information you deliver will be more effective and demonstrate your economy with language. When it comes to solving problems and dealing with others, short and simple is easier to understand than long and winded. Short and concise will demonstrate your ability to understand and formulate an effective answer quickly without wasting time. Long and winded answers tend to demonstrate the subject is not understood, and no real answer is forthcoming.

 

Keeping the interview conversational will be your way of delivering the best information about yourself and your skills. Before the interview, anticipate the type of questions that may be asked and have an answer prepared. Do not share those answers unless the appropriate questions are asked or it works with a follow up question.

What You Will Learn at a Public Speaking Course

 

For the majority of people, the thought of speaking in front of a group of people is accompanied by terror. Fortunately, there are public speaking courses that can assist individuals with their public speaking fears.

public speaking courseA good public speaking course will help individuals overcome their fears through addressing the aspects of  speaking in public that make it intimidating. As many careers require individuals to be able to express themselves confidently, a public speaking course can be an excellent investment.

While specific courses may differ in their exact content, in general, a class in public speaking should teach the following:

Feel Comfortable In Front of an Audience

If you have any  anxiety at all about talking in public, the fear of getting up and addressing a group of people is most likely your biggest hurdle to overcome.

You may be a persuasive, articulate, and confident speaker, but getting in front of a crowd makes you freeze. Thankfully, a good course will teach you the tools you need to overcome your anxiety.

Thought organization under pressure

If speaking in public makes you nervous, chances are you also have a hard time organizing your thoughts while speaking in front of groups.

Effective courses should  help you learn how to organize your thoughts in an instant, even when under pressure. Being able to do so can prove immensely helpful when giving presentations.

Presentation training

If you’ve ever had to create a presentation, you know that the process can sometimes be a difficult one. Fortunately, public speaking courses usually offer training on how best to design presentations for a wide array of scenarios.

Knowing that you’ve designed the best presentation possible can increase confidence and make you feel more confident while improve the image you portray to others.


The use of your voice and body language

If you’ve ever witnessed a fantastic speech or presentation, you may have noticed that the speaker oozed confidence through not only their voice, but also their body language.

A good public speaking course can help you understand how to effectively use both your voice and body language to give a fantastic presentation.

Practice makes perfect

A key element of communication training included providing the perfect environment for you to practice speaking in front of groups of people.

In this way, classes should offer an excellent opportunity for you to work out your anxieties under the professional eye of a qualified instructor.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses

Perhaps one of the most useful things you’ll learn in these classes is to recognize your individual strengths and weaknesses while speaking in front of a group of people. This can be immensely helpful because we may not be able to observe these characteristics ourselves. It is helpful to have other peers and a trained instructor help you identify them. Not only that, but once you understand your weaknesses, you can then take steps to improve them.

Moreover, having a grasp on your strengths and knowing how to utilize them effective will also improve your confidence.

 

If trying to determine whether or not a public speaking course is the right fit for you, make sure during your classes you will be able to cover the elements just mentioned and to inquire about the instructions qualifications.


How You Can Benefit from a Business Communication Course

Effective business communication starts with finding your voice and the right tone for a specific audience.

Business memos, letters and reports can benefit from an authoritative, expert style. When you can write and communicate well within your industry and with your clients, your professional peers will take notice, and you may begin to rise through the ranks.

business communications

Speak Effectively, Accomplish More

Effective communications can increase workplace productivity. Time is money when it comes to explaining details to others, and your communication skills can pay off when you speak clearly and communicate well with peers either in your office or with a global team.

One call or video chat to deliver instructions, sometimes across language barriers, can save everyone time later and avoid follow-up calls or misunderstood communications that could jeopardize work or deadline.

Improve Your Writing, Boost Your Opportunities

A command of grammar and basic language skills in writing can produce crisp, concise written communications.

Your coworkers may appreciate memos that offer clear explanation or instructions, and your customers can benefit from targeted messages designed to increase sales. Everyone can benefit from a well-written email.

As you develop your writing talent, your supervisors may see your skill as something that can help motivate, sell a product or inspire others in the office, creating more career opportunities for you.


Other Aspects of Business Communication

To gain a level of confidence in oral and written communications, courses focusing on these skills can be beneficial. If you are shy or withdrawn and feel uncomfortable communicating to a large audience, taking a course can help in the following ways:

  • Gain basic writing skills: With these courses, you can improve your writing and develop your skills in writing informational, persuasive communications. The more you practice, the faster and easier this task may become.
  • Find your voice: You can learn the distinctions of a writing voice for an internal or external audience including nuances that resonate whether you are speaking to coworkers or clients.
  • Become more comfortable engaging others: Having a relaxed attitude is valuable when you are meeting with peers at conferences or taking a lead role in meetings. Your abilities and poise under pressure can help set the tone for the rest of the room.

Mediate, Motivate

Learning more about how to effectively discuss issues with others can be important in areas such as mediation. You may draw from all of your communication knowledge that you acquire in a basic course to inspire, manage conflicts in an office setting and keep everyone on task.

Business Communication Training Can Help You Update Your Job Skills

Business communication is more than just speaking and writing. Adopting new communication skills can put you on the leading edge of industry public relations and could help you build a new career with advanced skill sets.

Other elements that a basic course could introduce you to may include:

  • Desktop publishing and managing websites and blogs: Not only can you learn more about Web technology but also learn different ways to create effective content for a company website or blog.
  • Video conferencing using Google Hangouts, Skype or FaceTime: Verbal skills can shine in these arenas once you learn the fundamentals of presentation and delivering a clear message.
  • Social media cultivation and management: This growing field is becoming more important for businesses in terms of marketing, promotion and reputation management.

Business leaders are those who can rise to the challenge and present a charismatic version of themselves to the public through their verbal skills and ability to write effectively.

Your journey on this path could begin with what you learn initially in a basic business communication course. Your first lessons could be the foundation for future growth in your career.


How Improving Communication Skills Can Make a Difference in Your Negotiations

 
Negotiation is the art of reaching a compromise or agreement through discussions with others.

The dialogue is intended to reach an understanding, resolve a point of difference or to gain an advantage in the outcome.

The goal of negotiating anything is to influence the other side to concede to your way of thinking or wishes while allowing the opposition to feel as if they won something, as well.Winning Negotiations

Good communication skills are the cornerstone and the life blood of negotiations, and that includes listening, as well as speaking. Positive negotiations are directly proportional to the level of communication, both verbal and non verbal. The most articulate argument will usually win in the long run, and it will be based on compromise and trust. (Learn more about effective communication skills)

Organize your Thoughts Before The Negotiation

Before negotiations begin, draw up an outline of what it is you want to include in your negotiations and the overall result. This will help you get your message across in a clear and concise manner. Being organized in thought will prevent sending unclear or mixed messages.

Keep in mind negotiations may change based on discussions with the other side, and it is essential to have a game plan in place. It is also beneficial to have a Plan B to bring negotiations back to where you want them in the event they veer off course. When that happens, take a few minutes to regroup and restate your purpose.

Compromise is a key aspect of negotiation, and it is necessary to know what you are willing to give up in exchange for what you want. Always include the negotiable items in your outline. The exchange should be fair and equitable to both sides.

Always Listen to the Other Side (Key to Effective Communication!)

Listening is an essential component when communicating with others. You have to make your message understood as well as understand what the other side is offering.

Recognize communication is a two way street and the outcome of any negotiations are subject to discussion, whether it works or does not work for one or both sides of the table.

Being a good listener with an open mind will allow you to hear the details being offered and key information to use as you search for solutions to your negotiations. Keep notes, if necessary, to make sure you are tracking the necessary information.

Trust is an Important Element (Crucial for Win-Win Negotiations)

Building trust with the other side is the key component in negotiations.

Being clear and concise with words and action, and action being body language, will build trust with your opposition and bring negotiations to a new level and a positive conclusion.

When you come across as trustworthy and not manipulative or cutting, negotiations will reach a positive level and the opposition will return the favor. If you have a hidden agenda, that agenda will be as transparent as a ghost and negotiations will never get to a level where anything will be accomplished.

 

The ability to exchange ideas is part of negotiating, and the ability to listen and understand is complimentary to the exchange. To be successful at both requires a clear and concise plan spoken in a clear and concise manner. Communication is the vehicle that delivers your message and improving your communication skills will upgrade your vehicle. Performance will improve, and negotiations will be successful.


How Negative Language Hinders Your Communication

Most people do not realize how important our choice of words is.

Perceptions that people form of other people, things and situations are often based on the words and phrases chosen to express thoughts about them. A negative impression is brought on by negative language.

turning negative language into positive

As you will read below, negative language often presents an obstacle rather than a solution and is essentially a red light rather than a green light. Most people do not even realize they are using negative language and how harming it is.

With a little practice and some advanced thought, negative language can be turned into positive language, and the effects will be uplifting and empowering.

The Effects of Negative Language

  • Negative verbiage is harmful to communication no matter if it is spoken or written. It brings about confusion, poor image and defeat.
  • Someone using negative language will add obstacles to a communication that were not there, or it amplifies obstacles that are present. It adds a degree of blame and encourages an undesirable outcome.
  • If the language a person decides to use is mean and offensive it can have a devastating effect on a communication event if the receiving party decides to take it personally. The receiving party will most likely stop listening and become defensive. Any hope for collaboration on a particular subject will probably be lost.
  • By putting others on the defensive, negative language lays the grounds for potential conflicts (or deepens existing ones). When people stop actively listening to each other and only concentrate on defending themselves communication cannot be effective (see our post on the importance of Active Listening).
  • If the language used is not offensive but just generally pessimistic, this can bring about negative effects too: A person who is pessimistic will not be motivated into taking the necessary action steps to get out of the situation that is causing discontent. If this person has influence over a larger group, it can place the whole group into inaction. Imagine how harmful this can be in a business setting.


Imagine if someone told you after you made an effort to cook a nice meal: “Yuck! This is the worst soup I ever tasted!” or how about if a colleague at work told you after reading your report: “This makes no sense whatsoever! How did you manage to get this so wrong?Are you sure you even went to school?”

How would you feel? Would you feel respected? Would you want to prepare another dish for this person or work on another project with that colleague?

Learn about other barriers to communication.

Turn that Negative into a Positive

  • It is possible to express a negative thought with a positive twist. The positive twist leaves a better impression and lessens confusion.
  • For instance, instead of saying “we can’t do that” use the phrase “that might be a problem, but here is what we can do instead.”
  • Also, instead of saying “it will never work” you can say “let’s look at our alternatives.”
  • Besides rephrasing, you can also use questions to make the other person aware of potential problems and see if they can come up with better alternatives.
  • For example, instead of saying “we could never do that, it’s against the company’s policies”, you can say “Hmmm. That sounds interesting. How do you think management or compliance would respond? Do you think there could be a way around any potential conflicts?”

Rephrasing a negative statement with something positive one or asking though-provoking questions replaces an obstacle with a solution, defeat with victory, blame with credit and destruction with positive construction.

Read about other tools for improving your communication skills.

Negative language can have a severe impact on communication. With a little thought and a positive attitude, negative language can be turned into a positive without compromising the intent of the message. Negative language does not define victory, but a positive definition will allow you to structure a written or verbal strategy to achieve victory.

Other Useful Resources
Is somebody you know being negative and difficult? Lots of great resources here: 30 Blogs on How to Handle Difficult People – Nanny Service

Become a Better Leader with Improved Communication Skills

Communication is the key to life and communication skills are especially critical for leaders of industry, organizations and business.

Without effective communication, the important aspects of the chain of command will be lost. Since as much as 80% of waking life is spent communicating, It is essential to be on top of your communication skills and make improvement a continuing effort (Learn more about What is Effective Communication here).

Value lies within the Loop of Communication

become a better leader with communication skills

Being a good leader means communicating effectively with each member of the team, not only as a group, but individually.

It is not enough to make basic assumptions when speaking, but it is necessary to communicate with others in the same way they view the world. Not everyone has the same concept of the words accuracy, urgency, necessity and quantity as you and explaining in terms relatable to everyone is beneficial to all.

In fact, the meaning of each word varies quite differently from person to person. This is not to say each person should receive an individual communication from you, but it does mean using clear and concise language to make your message understood.


Up the Ante

The ability to communicate effectively is directly proportional to productivity, revenue and the positive impact on the share price, as well as an impact on you.

Ineffective communication could result in your loss of credibility, damaged reputation and loss of position or employment all together.

Always improving communication and polishing those skills bring you a better sense of self confidence, greater respect and a vessel of trust.

The most effective communicators always seek feedback from others and strengthen the areas of weakness. Communication skills training programs are a helpful vehicle to identify communication weakness and areas where effective communication may be non-existent.

The Proof is in the Pudding

Those in a leadership role are looked up to for inspiration. The leaders are typically the go getters, the first to volunteer and ones that make sure all points are, and details are in order.

Communication with precision includes speaking and writing effectively, but also listening and comprehending information offered by others. Listening to others not only means hearing the words, but listening to the pace, emotion, tone and inflection that accompanies those words (Learn about the Keys to Effective Communication here).

Not jumping to conclusions before the speaker is finished speaking will allow you to assess the situation completely, and then begin to formulate a response that will be complete and encompass all the speakers thoughts and concerns.

This sends the message to the speaker that what they have to say is valuable, and you are interested. This puts you in a better position to relate with others, promote cooperation and enthusiasm and increase productivity.

Positive connections with others mean speaking or writing in a clear and concise manner that is logical and understandable and easy for others to comprehend.

For those that may not grasp the understanding of the subject at hand will be better equipped to ask for clarification and in effect elicit two way conversation, which is what effective communication is all about.

Conclusion

Being a good leader means being able to communicate with others at all times. Communication skills are always up for improvement, and being able to convey your thoughts and understand others will give your leadership skills and you respect.

Communication skill improvement will take place with every interaction no matter if it is the workplace, or everyday life and communication becomes easier with every encounter (Learn more about improving your communication skills here).

Using Communication Skills Training to Attain Your Business Goals

Effective communication is a necessary tool in any business today (see What is Effective Communication?). Being a skilled communicator takes practice and in most cases, education.

Communication is the foundation on which companies and careers are built and maintained. It is also an essential component to continuing success.

The Importance of Effective Communication

training-crossword-puzzle-made-with-sticky-notes-on-white-background

Communication skills not only include the spoken word, but include writing an effective note, letter or email.

Effective communication means establishing a connection with an individual or group of people that leaves a powerful and lasting impression.

Developing good communication skills also means incorporating the latest technology to reach greater audiences on different levels and to be better at getting your message across.

In any organization, it is necessary to communicate within different groups of people including employees, business associates and customers who may be from different backgrounds and skill levels. It is essential to communicate with each group to meet the goals and mission of the organization.

Communication skills training assist candidates to develop the ability to perceive how individuals and groups relate to each other and to the subject matter. This allows the candidate to make the necessary adjustments to reach the target audience.

Learn more about applying communication skills at the workplace and with customers.

Effective Communication Skills Training: Benefits

Communication skills training will give the candidates the ability to evolve and develop a strategy for improved communications that integrates the business plan and the mission and goals of the company. Skills training are necessary to achieve effective communication, enhance productivity, deal with difficult customers, improve customer satisfaction and motivate employees.

An important benefit skills training will bring is the motivation of employees to achieve goals, build successful teams and work within a teamwork structure and cultivate the necessary performance standards.

Training on a regular basis offers candidates the ability to maintain functioning communications while receiving the necessary feedback to update techniques and change in an ever changing business environment. Periodic assessment of the candidate’s communication skills will identify the areas that need to be strengthened, realigned, reestablished, as well as new areas of communication that should be introduced.

Polishing communication skills will allow the candidate to always deliver the appropriate message to the appropriate individual or group and manage and develop better assertive skills.

Communication is the foundation to being a competent and consistent manager, maintain business relationships over the long term, and even form new alliances when meeting new people.s candidates the ability to maintain functioning communications while receiving the necessary feedback to update techniques and change in an ever changing business environment.

Periodic assessment of the candidate’s communication skills will identify the areas that need to be strengthened, realigned, reestablished, as well as new areas of communication that should be introduced.

Communication skills training will help the candidate to conduct meetings with better focus, as well as keeping the discussion on track. With communication skills come facilitation skills and the ability to open, maintain and end a meeting while achieving the goals of the agenda and delegating duties to individuals and teams.

Overcoming Difficulties with Communication

Skills training will help candidates to deal with emergencies and difficult situations that may arise from business relationships and employment conflicts. It is essential to keep the lines of communication open to all involved and be effective when formulating solutions to bring a difficult situation to a peaceful solution.

One of the most difficult means of communication for most people is public speaking. It does not matter if the candidate is speaking before a small team, a division of the company or delivering the corporate message to the masses, optimum communication skills will give the candidate the ability to speak with confidence.

Skills training will help the candidate develop the best possible means of public speaking and the ability to express the word of the business in the best possible way.

Learn more about improving your Public Speaking skills.

The overall benefit of communication training skills is to make sure the message is delivered in a clear and concise manner, and it is and embraced by all. After communication, understanding is a necessary component whether in business, school or life in general. If understanding is not reached or maintained, communication is not effective.


Communication Skills Training: Books

Books on Effective CommunicationIf you like to learn by reading, there are a number of books available that can help you advance your knowledge about effective communication and help you improve your communication skills.

In order to further your communication skills training, why not purchase one of these highly rated books? Most of them can be found in physical as well as Kindle format.

  •  “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently” a book by John Maxwell, the world’s most respect leadership expert, about the importance of connecting with people in order to be able to communicate effectively with them. After all, if foundations have not been set for mutual respect and trust, as well as some degree of common ground, it will be hard to have a beneficial interaction with others.
  •  “It’s the Way You Say It: Becoming Articulate, Well-spoken, and Clear” Dr. Carol Fleming is the best-selling author of this book and a speech consultant from San Francisco who is an expert in communication training. This is an excellent book that discusses effective voice management. If you fear your voice gets in the way of how you want your message to be perceived then this is the book for you.
  •  “Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy-to-Learn, Proven Communication Skills” This book was the WINNER if the 2012 Indie Book Award. Dr.Georgianna Donadio is a key behavior change researcher behind the Behavioral Engagement™ model, a proven behavior change model that has been tested for more than 30 years in hospitals and healthcare institutions in the Boston area. There are rave reviews from behavioral experts as well as regular folks who use the 12-step method to help improve their relationship. It is also a #1 seller in the Kindle store at Amazon.
  •  “Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone” Before being able to make your point, you have to get the other person to stop and LISTEN to you. This book by Dr. Mark Goulston – a psychiatrist, business consultant, and FBI hostage-negotiation trainer – will teach you how to do just that.

Four Tips for Using Effective Communication on a Date

Bad communication skills on a dateMost people who are dating can often use some good dating advice.

A date may or may not result in a lasting relationship. However, there are some things you will want to know whether or not you think your relationship will become serious.

Dating most often starts casually and is centered on getting to know the other person. This means that you will need effective communication skills to get the answers that you want. The following four tips are some things that you will want to keep in mind while dating.

Keep Your Conversations Balanced

Some people can talk on and on no matter what the circumstances may be. While there is nothing at all wrong with talking for hours on end, effective communication requires you to exercise your listening skills too.

As much as you enjoy talking, keep in mind that the purpose of the date is to get to know the other person as much as you want them to get to know you. So remember to ask your date questions and really listen to what they are saying.

Some good and casual questions include “What do you think of that?” or “How would that make you feel?” This will give you important insight on their thoughts, views, personality, and general outlook on life. Asking questions can also help a quiet person to open up.

This is important when trying to assess if you two will be compatible.

Never Assume Anything

There will be disagreements in most dating relationships. This is something that simply cannot be avoided. When you disagree with your partner, back up for a minute and think about what was said. Building a strong dating relationship is highly dependent upon learning to understand each other.

After your date has finished speaking, rather than lash out with harsh words, try to respect their thoughts and feelings. Additionally, it is essential for you to never, ever assume that you understand what they meant.

Using reflective communication, ask them something like “I see, so it upsets you when I ____, because it makes you feel ____.”

In this way, you will avoid an argument that may spiral out of control, and you may even gain perspective on what your date is truly thinking and feeling.

This also tells your date that you truly care about his or her feelings and want to work out any problems you both may be facing.

Do Not Give in to Yelling

As stated above, when dating relationships go on long enough, there will more than likely be some disagreements occasionally. If your partner becomes angry and begins yelling, never respond in the same way.

While yelling may help some people to blow off steam, it is not an effective form of communication.

If your partner is yelling and seems out of control, try to remain calm. So long as you do not feel threatened by your date, go ahead and let him or her blow off a little steam.

Then, when they begin to calm down a little, say something like “Maybe we should talk when you can be calm.”

In many cases, your partner will realize they are being irrational and will, indeed, calm down. If they do not calm down, the best thing to do is to take a little walk and separate for a while.

Sometimes, all that is needed to sooth a disagreement is a brief time apart.

Do Not Be too Serious

Unless you have been dating for several years, try not to be too serious with your date.

silly face
silly face—frotzed2 (Flickr.com)

Try to avoid talking about serious issues that will only make your partner uncomfortable. Stick to light, happy issues such as your favorite date you had with each other, something funny you both witnessed, or things you both have in common.

Learning to communicate effectively is one of the hardest parts of creating a lasting relationship. For people to communicate effectively with their date, they must learn to listen, understand and share.

Communication can either build a relationship or end it; however, if you follow the above useful tips, using effective communication on a date will seem quite easy.

How to Make Small Talk and Keep the Conversation Flowing

Making Small TalkWhile many people are quite comfortable talking to others, even strangers, some people struggle with so much as small talk.

Most all social situations begin with small talk, which will engage a conversation and help it flow in another direction. However, if you are one of those persons who have no idea where to begin with small talk, the following tips may help.

Talk About Your Surroundings

Keep in mind that whatever you are doing, the other person is in the same location as you. Thus, this may offer you something to talk about. Look around at your surroundings. Even if your are simply waiting in line at a fast food restaurant, you can comment on how long the line is or how good their fries are. Strive for a pleasant and casual attitude.

When you begin a conversation like this, others will more than likely say something back. Chances are, the other person will offer a casual comment as well, and a conversation has begun. It gets much easier after this. If the other person simply smiles, but does not offer a comment, do not get frustrated. Smile back and move on to another individual.

Ask About Personal Interests

Ask yourself what you would like to know about the other person. While you should, in no way, ask too much on an initial conversation, pick one general topic to ask them about. Ask them where they work or what they like to do in their spare time. If you notice a wedding ring on the person’s finger, ask if they have any children. All of these things can get a conversation started.

Ask About Their Day

Most everybody appreciates it when others ask about them in a friendly tone. Thus, you can always ask them how they are doing or how their day has been. For example, you can ask a cashier whether or not they have been very busy today. This is a great ice-breaker, and the other person will usually say something, even if it is just a small comment.

Additionally, you will find that when you use this tactic to make small talk, the other person will often smile. This is because you have made them feel like you truly care about their welfare. When people feel good like this during an initial comment, it is often much easier to keep the conversation going.

Comment About Recent Events

Many people are interested in the news, and they like to keep up with what is going on in the world at the moment. With that said, you may wish to ask them something like “Did your read in the papers about so and so?” Another good starter question is “Did you see the news this morning?” Either one of these will typically start up a great conversation.

Keep in mind though, when using this method to begin small talk, to steer away from talking about issues that may offend someone. However, if you have chatted with the same person before and know that certain issues will not bother them, then feel free to chat away. Sometimes controversial issues can be great ice-breakers, but just be sure that the other person has the same views as you.

When you follow these useful tips, you will find that making small talk can be quite easy and even enjoyable. Try practicing some of these methods on a few of your close friends, and you will soon discover that starting conversations with small talk is much easier than you thought.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dA6bELh5ps&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Useful Resources
Forbes. Com – Six Reasons Small Talk Is Very Important—And How To Get Better At It 
The Washington Post – The Rich Resonance of Small Talk