ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Make Polite Small Talk

Updated on September 1, 2011
Anne Hathaway finds your observations on the canapes terribly droll.
Anne Hathaway finds your observations on the canapes terribly droll.

It is a matter of utmost importance to have a good command of the art of small talk. Small talk, whilst scorned by the socially inept as meaningless twaddle, performs several very important functions. It forms preliminary social bonds, it encourages relaxation and comfort in others and it makes one seem very congenial and friendly.

Those who are often given to deeper thoughts about the nature of the universe, the great political struggles that divide nations and the ever increasing price of milk may find small talk a challenge at first. To aid those thinkers, here are some suitably small conversational gambits that should work every time.

But first, a little general advice:

Aside from the weather, which can be lambasted at length, try to keep small talk generally positive and impersonal. The more you speak positively about inanimate objects, the more others will consider you to be an affable human being. Speaking negatively is a riskier proposition and is more likely to create an adversarial environment in which the Minister for Foreign Affairs inevitably challenges you to a duel at dawn, and that never ends well.

The Weather

The weather is always an appropriate conversational topic. Yes, this is a cliche, but most cliches, as my father used to say, are cliches for a reason. He was a very wise man, fond of tweed. But enough about him for the moment. Conversing on the weather is a safe conversational topic because it is almost impossible to have someone accidentally take offense when mentioning the uncommon clemency of the weather. Unless of course, one happens to mention 'global' and 'warming' in the same sentence, in which case one might very well find oneself unintentionally wading into a conversational minefield.

The Food

Complimenting the food is another easy way to make conversation with those around you. If your host has gone to the trouble of presenting the food in a notable way, thank them silently, but profusely in your mind. Scallops might not strictly need to be served on gilt lettuce leaves stuffed inside blown glass funnels, but a party where the hors d'oeuvres are are served that way will never run out of conversation.

The Host or Hostess

If you are placed in the confounded position of making conversation with a set of total strangers, the only person at a party known to you being the host or hostess, do not be afraid to make them the topic of conversation. 'How do you know Charlie?' or 'I know Charlie through our Water Buffalo tracking club' are both gambits that have a decent chance of getting a conversation started.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)