Small Talk: Why You Should Ditch It In Favor of Meaningful Conversations

Stop skimming the surface. Jump into the deep end.

“What ho!” I said.
”What ho!” said Motty.
”What ho! What ho!”
”What ho! What ho! What ho!”
After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.
― Wodehouse

Small talk is shallow and superficial.

Deep, meaningful conversations are what stimulate the mind and bring happiness. Small talk is like skipping a rock across the water only to have it land on the far shore. You are that skipping rock... never tasting the depths.

Can we start getting to the good part of every conversation right from the start?

I’ve answered thousands of questions about the weather in my life. Thanks to small talk, I may be the most qualified meteorologist on the planet. Generally speaking, there is nothing exciting or fulfilling about the weather. It does not move me.

Consider the usual small talk fare:

  • What do you do for a living?

  • How about this weather?

  • Where are you from?

  • Do you have kids?

Now consider these meaningful, open-ended questions:

  • What is something you recently learned?

  • What brings you the most happiness?

  • What is your favorite memory?

  • Do you believe in karma?

The first set of questions leaves me dull witted and searching for the exit. Small talk reminds me of cotton candy, all sugar and air with no real substance. It often defeats its own purpose as an entry point to meaningful conversation by crowding it out.

The second set of questions leaves me on the edge of my seat listening and learning, my mind shotgunning ideas like beer from a can. In a meaningful conversation, a part of one person is left with the other. I walk away a better version of myself.

New people are a treasure trove of unique perspectives and experiences. Dive in the deep end immediately and soak it all in. Don’t waste precious time and opportunity with small talk.

🤔 Food for Thought:

Do you see small talk as an ice breaker or does it leave you looking for the nearest exit?

How many meaningful conversations have you missed out on because of small talk?

⚙️ One Small Step:

Try leading with a deeper, open-ended question after introducing yourself to someone. Does it spark a more memorable conversation?