Make Awkward Small Talk Disappear With This List

Paul McCartney performs in Dublin, Ireland on ...

This picture of Paul McCartney will make much more sense when you continue reading this post! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember in high school or college when the teacher would make each student in the class introduce themselves and say one interesting fact?  My hands would sweat, and I would panic trying to think of something cool to say before the teacher got to me. Total torture!

Well this still happens today.  You know what I’m talking about.  Those awkward situations where you are forced to make small talk or be interesting. Like at a business meeting, at the dentist’s office (why do they always want to talk when you can only mumble?,)  with your hairdresser, at a party that you felt obligated to attend, or maybe even on a blind date.

My solution for these awkward exchanges are simple.  Make a list.  This can be something you write down or just keep in your head.  But this list should contain several interesting facts about yourself and a few conversation starters.  Here are a few of mine for inspiration:

1.  I was named after Paul McCartney.  Yes, really.  My mom had BeatleMania big time.

2.  I’m left-handed.  We’re more creative than righties.  We smudge everything we write and we leverage for a good spot at the table, literally, so we don’t bump into righties while we eat.  This is all part of our charm.


3.  I just bought my first apartment in NYC.  People love to talk about real estate and DIY projects.  I hate both of these topics but I will humor you for small talk sake.


4.  I have an Emmy award.  It’s pretty cool and it sits on my shelf in the living room.  It makes for a nice conversation piece.


5.  The very first record (yes as in those things before CDs and MP3s) I ever owned was Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  Boy, did I love that record.


See, that’s not so hard is it? I realize you’re not just going to blurt out one of these facts when you first meet someone.  But you should have an arsenal ready to go so you can steer the conversation and make people smile with your oh-so-interesting facts!

4 replies
  1. Karen Favazza Spencer
    Karen Favazza Spencer says:

    I’d suggest that perhaps a question oriented list oriented towards the other person or a an opening about an event are more likely to make the other person feel comfortable. Yes, finding common ground is good.

    1. If you notice they are a leftie, I see you’re a leftie, me too! Remember those leftie scissors when we were kids?
    2. What a pretty/interesting/unique name! Is there a story behind it?
    3. We’re lucky to live around here, aren’t we? Are you a native to this area?
    4. This place/event reminds me of a book I finished recently, “XXXX”. Did you read it? I want to explore this topic more. Do you have any recommendations?


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