Small Talk? It’s Not Hard to Master When You Understand It

If you feel awkward when you’re making small talk, or try your best to avoid making it, you’re not alone.

Many people find the idea of small talk daunting. But small talk gets easier when you understand what it’s really for, and how simple it is to do.

The Secret of Small Talk (Hint: It’s Not about Talking!)

The first thing to realize is that small talk is not a conversation. Small talk is what happens when two people are auditioning each other for a conversation, or possibly a deeper connection.

Here’s why we need small talk:  Suppose I walked up to you in the grocery store and said,

Hi, my name is Jezra, and I just moved here. I don’t really know anyone. Would you like to be my friend?

Most people would react with a loud (or a silent) “No!” because that question would feel needy, presumptuous, and… well, weird.

But what if I walked up to you and said,

Hi, my name is Jezra, and I just moved here. Could you recommend a place to buy computer supplies?

In that case, you would probably try to help me with a store name, if you know one. That might lead to another round of small talk and that might lead to a cup of coffee and maybe eventually, to that friendship I’m looking for (along with a place to buy computer supplies).

But if this exchange doesn’t lead to anything, it still serves the important purpose of giving both people a sense of whether they’d like to know each other better.

Once again, small talk is not a conversation! It’s an audition, or warm-up, for a possible conversation, and it’s more like ping pong than real conversation.

In ping-pong, two people hit a ball back and forth, trying to make each other miss. In small talk, two people hit the conversational ball back and forth, trying to help each other not miss.

To see how this works, let’s go back to grocery store, where I’m looking for a place to buy computer supplies and maybe meet an interesting new person.

I say,

Hi, my name is Jezra, and I just moved here. Could you recommend a place to buy computer supplies?

The first thing to be aware of is that the person I spoke to may not want to engage with me — and that’s her right. So if the other person just says “No” and moves on, please don’t take it personally. For whatever reason, they just don’t want to interact right now. Find someone else who looks interesting and ask the same question.

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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