Small Talk 101: How to Master Any Networking Situation | Jen Brown | Skillshare

Small Talk 101: How to Master Any Networking Situation

Jen Brown, Communications Adventurer

Small Talk 101: How to Master Any Networking Situation

Jen Brown, Communications Adventurer

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9 Lessons (42m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Prepare for Your Audience

    • 3. Prep Your Skills

    • 4. Your Elevator Pitch

    • 5. Find Your "In"

    • 6. Keep the Conversation Going

    • 7. Active Listening

    • 8. Leaving the Conversation

    • 9. Recap + What's Next

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About This Class

In this class, we’ll dive into small talk during professional networking situations. Starting from initial audience assessment and constructing an elevator pitch to how to get out of awkwardly long conversations, we’ll learn the basics of effective small talk. 

Students will learn:

  • how to prepare for networking situations;
  • audience assessment;
  • tools to construct an authentic elevator pitch;
  • how to approach people and conversation groups;
  • strategies to keep the conversation going;
  • active listening skills;
  • ways to enter and exit conversations.

This class is for anyone who wants to improve their professional small talk and networking skills.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jen Brown

Communications Adventurer


Jen Oleniczak Brown is the Founder of The Engaging Educator (EE), a women-owned and operated company dedicated to helping people find their unapologetic, authentic, and best voice, communication style and self through improv-based education. Since 2012, EE has served over 50,000 students, working with such companies as Viacom, Food Network, The New York Times, Saks Fifth Avenue, and CBS. EE is based out of NYC, LA, SF, and Winston Salem, NC. Jen’s work can be found in publications like Bustle, Fast Company, Forbes and Moneyish, as well as her first self-published book Improv(e): Using Improv to Find Your Voice, Style, and Self (Balboa Press, 2018) and the upcoming Think on Your Feet: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Impromptu C... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to Small Talk 101. My name's Jen Brown and I'm the founder of The Engaging Educator. Since 2012, The Engaging Educator has helped over 40,000 students with their communication, presentation, and social skills, all through Improv. Today, we're going to dive into small talk. Now I personally hate small talk because of so many things. One of them is probably the same reason you don't like small talk. It's always this superficial banter that seems like it doesn't go anywhere. Afterwards you sit there and you go, oh, I wish I would've said or, oh, I wish I could have thought of this; and you have all the ideas in the end or you're sitting through one of those super awkward moments, where you really want the conversation to move forward and you don't know what to do or you screw up introducing yourself. Suddenly, hi, my name is and I, sound so contrived and trite, and just doesn't make sense with who you are and the situation you're in. Well, today, we're going to tackle all of that and more. Some of the things we're going to work on in this class, we're definitely going to work on that elevator pitch and we're going to make it work for your audience. You're actually going to leave with a pretty nice structure for an elevator pitch along with conversation topics, things you can bring up when those awkward silences come in. We're also going to think about entrance and exit lines. How are we going to be able to get into and out of those awkward conversations. We're going to think about your communication style in those conversations, and I am going to tell you one of the biggest secrets about small talk, a way to meet everyone likes you. It is actually really simple. Again, I'm really excited that you're joining us today. I'm super pumped during this class. Please definitely follow because I will be doing other classes and list any questions, comments, thoughts for your homework definitely down there because I love interacting with students and having conversations. I'm really excited to have not small talk with you. Again, welcome to Small Talk 101. I'm Jen Brown and let's get started. 2. Prepare for Your Audience: Hello and welcome back to Small Talk 101. I'm Jen Brown with the Engaging Educator. The first thing we're going to dive into with your small talk is, who are you talking? Your audience is so incredibly important. So often we go into these situations thinking about what we want and not what they want. So when you're prepping for your small talk situation, your next one, actually, there's a few questions I want you to start thinking about your audience. These are some of those questions. The first one is, what kind of group are you thinking about? A professional or a social situation? Then, will you know any of them. Are you going to have a refuge in the storm? Do you going to have somewhere to go? Then, will there be a lot of people there or just a few people? Will they know you? Now, I'm not saying you're all infamous and absolutely scary, or intimidating, or awesome, you probably are all awesome. But will these people know you by association? Will you see any of them again? Now, if the answer to that is no, you really need to think about being the youest version of you. If you have one shot to impress these people, one shot to make this, then you have to be you. You don't have to be perfect, you just can't be anyone else. So if you're not going to see them again, really consider that. Then, are these folks connections or associations? Are you looking at people that might be connected to you with work or people that you might have been associated with in the past, maybe they work for the position that you used to be in, or maybe they have the position that you really want? Ultimately you're answering the question, who are you talking to? When you're thinking about this, who are you talking to, you can run it through a few other filters. Again, is it social or is it professional? Is it a current job or future goals? Are you thinking about your work like you just need to get paid, or maybe it's your career, something that's very long-term? Is it regular, something that's every day and comes up all the time, or is it special, like a big conference or something that you've been really looking forward to? Again, is it important or is it the every day? These questions really tap into who you're talking to and what you really want to start thinking about after you determine who you're talking to, is what they want. Both what you want and what they want actually. So what do you want out of this situation? Are you looking to get a new job? Are you looking for a new collaboration? Are you more just prospecting and seeing what's out there? Are they looking to hire someone or, are they just coming for the good food, and the chat, and free drinks? A lot of times that's what happens at networking situations, so putting undue stress and pressure on it is only going to hurt you in the end. So really thinking about what you want, and what they want is going to help you out immensely in the end. The next thing I want you to really consider is what's success for you? What does that look like? What is a good networking situation? What does a good small talk look like for you? Why might this audience be there? Now, we tapped into that a little bit in thinking about what they want. So if they're there because there's free food and drinks and it happens every Thursday night and they walk down the street, they're probably not going to want to talk about serious work stuff because this is part of their routine. If success for you is getting your resume in the hands of this person, you're probably not going to be that successful. So taking that step back and building in some success in these small talk and networking situations, maybe freethinking professional success for you, is talking to three people you didn't know before you walked in, and maybe if you're thinking personal, if success for you is having a conversation with one person you didn't know beforehand. Professional networking is a little simpler than personal networking. I like to think, in professional, we have the guys and not really guys, but more so this field in front of us, there's career, there's job, there's safety net. When you're thinking about personal, it goes away, because personal networking and personal small talk becomes very, very intimate, very, very quickly if some people ask strange questions. Again, really think about what success looks like for you, if you want and out of there with a marriage proposal, oh, it's probably not going to work really well. Now, in the end, some of those goals might be to meet new people, to get a new job, to find a mentor, to find a mentee, to get out of work, or to start a new opportunity. There's one thing in common, you're both there to make connections. In the end, when you're thinking about making those connections, how can you both get what you want? How do you align both of those things? Meet in the middle and see if you both can accomplish it. So remember, you're thinking about who you're talking to? What they want? What you want? How you both can win? Post any questions you've got below, comments, things like that. I really enjoy talking about audiences, I think it's something that a lot of people avoid. I'll see you in the next session when we're thinking about something other than the audience. Bye. 3. Prep Your Skills: Welcome back to Small Talk 101. I'm Jane Brown with the engaging educator. Now, since we just thought about audience, we're now going to tap into getting ourselves ready. Note, we are not thinking about what we're going to say yet, we're thinking about all of this. First off, how often do you work your voice? Come on, think about it. How often have you warmed up your voice before a big speaking arrangement, or a conversation, or a small talk situation? Commonly not that often. It takes hundreds of muscles just to say one word. First, before we even think about what we're going to say, we're going to build ourselves a warm-up structure. Because I bet you've tripped over words before, and I bet you've said something in a weird way because your tongue and your lips got in the way. That's because you haven't stretched those muscles. The first thing I want you to do, we're going to do a few silly activities with our face. So please keep in mind that you might not want to be doing this at your desk, and if you are at your desk, maybe go to the bathroom. I don't mind looking silly on camera, but as you'll see, some of the warm-up exercises that I'm about to do, are best suited for the bathroom or maybe the car, or your house before you go. The first thing you want to do is really stretch your mouth because these are all muscles, and you wouldn't just go and work out and run 10 miles if you weren't stretching your muscles. I want you to open your mouth as wide as you can, overextended, in case you didn't hear that. Now I want you to pretend like you're chewing the biggest piece of gum that you have ever chewed before in your life. Really like chomp it out. What you're doing is overextending the muscles that you use to speak. You're essentially stretching. Before you run, you have to stretch. Before you speak, you also have to stretch. When you stretching these muscles, you really want to open up and close. Open up and close. Another thing that's really helpful for working on your enunciation are tongue twisters. Now, you don't want to speak like you do with tongue twisters all the time because you're going to sound a little crazy. But when you're doing these tongue twisters, you want to over enunciate. A few that I'm going to walk through with you and show you what they should sound like, because again, you're really thinking about using your whole mouth, the first one is unique New York. Do you hear how I hit those in there. I really want you to do that, so almost as if you're going to spit when you talk. So unique New York. Then the next one, red leather, yellow leather. See how my mouth is almost moving like a cartoon character, really wide, really open. You want to make sure that you're stretching in here. Because if you're just saying red leather, yellow leather, you're not doing the job that the tongue twister is supposed to be doing. The next one, Irish wristwatch. That one's tough. So if you stumble over it takes an extra time with it. The last one, the lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue, the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips. Really think about those words as they're leaving your mouth. Words have currency. You don't want to keep running your mouth. Consider making it as crisp and tight as possible. One thing people don't often talk about is this idea of getting your body in motion. You want to stand with your feet underneath your knees, underneath your hips, underneath your shoulders. You can get into this youth hip sticking out once you know people, people say like this all the time. But it doesn't give as much authority and openness as you want. You want unclench shoulder if you feel like your shoulders are getting really tense, bring them up to your ears, and drop it down, bring it up to your ears, and drop it down. One more time, up to your ears, and drop them down. You don't want to stand with your arms crossed in front of you or your legs crossed in front of you. This is actually a non-verbal for insecurity. When you're thinking about doing things like this, if you're standing like this ladies, we tend to do this or taking up a little bit of space. We're trying to make ourselves as small as possible. What it's really telling people is that you look nervous and you might feel nervous too. Again, you want your feet underneath your knees, unlock those knees underneath your hips, underneath your shoulders. Big deal here, very serious moment. Unclench your butt, let that booty shine. Now, the reason I this is because we carry a lot of tension here and here. We've handled the shoulders, are bringing him up to our ears. When you're thinking about your butt, everyone real quick clench your butt and say hello. Go ahead. Now and unclench your butt and say hello. Hear the difference, Hello, Hello. You can see it too, you see this area start to tense up. Now, what this is, is again, giving out that nervous energy. You get the energy you put out. If you're putting out energy that you look nervous, or shy, or scared, that's what people are going to take back. They're not going to go, "Oh, she's nervous or shy or scared." They're going to say, "Oh she looked standoffish, or she looks like she doesn't belong here." Remember, you get the energy you put out, warm up this, warm up this, and unclench your butt. See you next time. 4. Your Elevator Pitch: Quick 60 seconds, who are you? I'm kidding, it's really difficult to come up with who you are on the fly and it will only be better if you practice. So welcome back, again. I'm Jane Brown with the engaging educator, and this is small talk 101. We are thinking right now about elevator pitches. Now, the idea of an elevator pitch is weird, it's what you would say to a person if you were riding in an elevator between floors. Basically it's that 30 to 90 seconds it takes to introduce yourself in an elevator. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want people talking to me in an elevator, I would rather just not talk and everyone goes where we need to go. But the idea of how small that elevator pitch is, how specific it has to be for that amount of time is something that I really value. We're going to really dive into these elevator pitches now, and remember this is part of your takeaway for this whole class. So if you want to pull out that worksheet, pull up that worksheet get something to write on and really think in specifics for this entire lesson. First thing you need to do is think about that audience. Now, this is a bit of a recap, but I really want you to think about who you're talking to. If you don't pick a specific audience for this actual lesson, you're not going to leave with a really strong pitch that you possibly could use. So pick an audience that you might use, for example, I might say I'm going to use an audience of professionals that might use my services so I'm a communications coach. So that really could be anyone, but as you can see, it's professional and not social. That's the first day is really deciding who that is and keeping that person in your mind, in the back of your mind so you know who you're talking to the entire time. Now, in reference to that audience, who are you? What do you do and why do they care? So in that audience, I'm Jane Brown. I run the engaging educator and I help people with their communication skills. Now, I might even trim that down [inaudible] , but for now we'll keep it there. So think about who are you? What do you do and why do they care? Now, notice I'm not saying, "Hey, you care because you communicate badly." No, I'm like, "Hey, I help people with their communication skills." I didn't say I fix people's communication skills because I don't. I help them, so when you're thinking about those questions, I want you to really write out a statement right now, maybe a couple of sentences before you move forward. So if you can pause, if you can put it on hold write down those few sentences. Now that you're back from that pause, we're going to think about cutting the fats. I want you to take that sentence, those few sentences, and I want you to time yourself, once you've timed yourself, I want you to cut it in half. That's right, I don't want you to talk in a vast manner, I don't want you to speed talk, I don't want you to go [inaudible] , like you're doing a tongue twister. I want you to take that 30 seconds and I want you to make it 15 by cutting out the extra information. If you remember in the beginning I was like, "Hi, I'm Jane Brown, I run the engaging educator, I help people with their communications skills." That's why you got to warm up, now, if I wanted to cut that down, I might say, "Hi, I'm Jane, I run a business that helps people with their communication skills." Now, I've cut a little bit of that fat, no one really needs to know the name of my company unless they care. Like if they want to hire me, what do you do? What's the name of your company? Who do you work for? Might be some of those questions. Again, you're going to take that longer one and you're going to cut it in half. Now, after you've cut that in half, I want you to have that. You might say," I'm Jane and I help with communication skills." Simple as that, now if your feeling really bold half that time, and I'm not playing here. One of the reasons why you do this when you have these times is you're getting rid of all the extraneous information. Now, I had a really short elevator pitch to begin with. There was a client I was working with not too long ago that told me he was a financial advisor for a business, it was a hardware company. He helped people do this, that and the other, so when you're getting into that many details, you really need to trim it down. If you already have a really tight elevator pitch that says who you are, what you do and why they should care, and you're really thinking of that audience. You might not need to trim it down as much. But even I got down to a place that was a little more concise and a little more specific. One of the big parts of this as practicing out loud, you definitely don't want to do this just in your head. So go up to your dog, go up to your roommate, your partner, anybody like that, and really say it to them and see what they think. Now, don't write this down, because if you write things down word for word, I should say, don't write this down and memorize it word for word. When you do that, you memorize word order versus remembering the feeling. So write down phrases, write down bits, and write down points. You don't necessarily need to write down the word hi because you probably will say hi. If you've just put down Jane, communication skills, business, that's it. That way you have these ideas already going. So when you're in the moment, you won't be completely shocked and surprised by what's happening. Now, work on your homework for the elevator pitch, please ask any questions below. Let me know if you have any discussion, comments, anything like that. I am super happy to review any of these elevator pitches. So please definitely post and I will let you know what I think and where we can edit things. Thanks again and see you next time. 5. Find Your "In": Hello and welcome back to Small Talk 101. I'm Dan Brown, the engaging educator. Now we're thinking about how to get into conversations. You've already thought about your audience. You have a bang-up elevator pitch that you're ready to use with real people and not just your dog and you really want to try it out so how do you figure out what group works? Say you're at a crowded networking situation with a 100 people. How do you connect with those people? What do you look for? One of the big things that I tell people is body language matters. When you're looking around the room and you see someone standing or hunched over or looking down. You probably don't want to talk to them because you have no idea what's going on in their life. They might have just gotten fired. He would have just gotten broken up with so limit your, I'm going to save the world to whatever use you on the side for your hobby. If you're doing professional or personal networking, look for some body language cues that'll help you find the people you want to talk to. Now, some of the things that you can be looking for, you're looking for someone that might be alone. Maybe they are standing by themselves with a drink or buy the food table. Now, you also might be looking for someone with an open stance. This goes back to that warm-up, that feet underneath your knees, underneath your hips, underneath your shoulders, not arms crossed, not turned off legs, look for someone who looks welcoming. Their shoulders might be open, they might be facing out towards an audience and they're not in a tight little group. Now, if you see a group of people huddled together, what you're probably witnessing is more of a private conversation so maybe not approach that group. They might not be the most receptive to your amazing elevator pitch. When you find that group that you're looking for, you want to start thinking about some conversation starters. Now hopefully you thought about these conversations starters prior to getting in their room. But in case you haven't, a nice way in is always your introduction. It's always the, "Hi, I'm Jen. I help people with their communication skills." Now, when you're thinking about ways into these conversations, you also can tap into interests. It might be interests of, "Why are you here?" It might be interests of, "Wow, that food looks really good. I love food. Do you like food?" Now I'm purposely being a little awkward in this because that's what ends up happening when you don't think about these things in advance. These questions that you're asking, any question you're asking should always be an open-ended question if you want to get information. Open-ended questions are different than closed questions. Open-ended questions have many answers, so "Do you like food?" is not an open-ended question. It has two answers, yes and no. There might be a maybe in there but that person is as smart-ass. You have two answer, yes and no. Now, when you're thinking about that question that you're coming up with, you don't get too personal. If you get into the realm of, "What makes you happy in your life?" or "What is success for you?" You get into the first date situations and that's not always appropriate the first time you talk to someone so when you're thinking about these questions, ask things that you're also curious about. Maybe you're in a space. The space I'm in is a great example so if you can see back here, I have some bookcases and they're organized by color. You might ask the person, if you're in this space, for example, "Wow, have you ever seen a bookcase organized by color?" Now that's a closed-ended question but it can lead into an open one by saying, "What do you think about it?" Like, "Would you do this at your house?" That's open, if that, "What do you think about it?" They can give some information and how they feel and "Would you do this at your house?" This is not my house, but still I would do this at my house though so see look that's a conversation even that I haven't even thought about and I did this. When you're asking these open-ended questions, you're really seeking to get people talk about themselves. Now, I said at one point, I would give you the secret of how to make people like you. When people talk about themselves, they like you. The reason why they like you is because they're talking about themselves. Now, when someone is asked about themselves, their opinions, their personality to talk about them and someone is actually listening to them. There's research that shows the same areas of our brain that light up with sex, cocaine and good food. They light up when people are talking about themselves. How amazing is that. That idea of getting someone to talk about their own experiences and getting them to flip a switch on and suddenly have this good feeling. That good feeling is going to pass on to you. Now, here's the trick though. You have to really listen when people are talking and show it. More on that in the next lesson. Thank you so much. We'll see you next time and definitely post any questions you are thinking about. If you want a workshop and in questions, posts, comment, have a discussion and I'm happy to weigh in on it. See you soon. Bye. 6. Keep the Conversation Going: Hello and welcome back to small talk 101. I'm Jen Brown with the Engaging Educator. Now that we're in the conversation, we're there, we introduce yourselves, maybe we're asking a question or two. I want us to take a step back and think about our communication style. There are a few main communication styles, four actually, that I want to see where you fall in, so this is a self-diagnostic moment. I want you to really think about the descriptions of these styles, and really consider where you classify yourself, and if there's any room for improvement. This is not saying that you need to change who you are, it is saying that we all can improve, myself included, and I teach people how to communicate. The four communication styles are: aggressive, passive, passive aggressive, and assertive. When you're thinking about aggressive communication first, you probably know the people that are aggressive communicators. You can probably feel that they're aggressive, when they're around. They only care about their needs. They're probably agenda oriented. A bomb could go off in front of them and they still want to talk about what they want to talk about. They make a lot of eye contact, they stand very close to you and it's more of an intimidation eye contact standing close, than an actual connection. The next one is the passive style. Now, passive folks are little different. They might be the person that's hunched over, they might be the person that's avoiding eye contact, that's deferring to that other person constantly. It is a lot of trouble taking initiative and making choice, so the passive communicator, is usually someone that is really quiet, really held back, doesn't have a lot of opinions on things, maybe you're a passive communicator and you're having a hard time thinking about how to introduce yourself for what you want. The next style is the passive aggressive communicator. This style, if you work with someone like this, I'm so sorry, if you are someone like this, you can fix this. Please fix this, so passive aggressive communicators are passive first and then what's going to end up happening is they get so resentful of their passive communication, the aggressive side slips out. Think of a bottle of soda or seltzer that you've shaken up and you've got here and you open it just a little bit and it squirts out. Those are those little passive-aggressive comments; muttering under someone's breath, getting irritated for no reason, having those little side conversations, that's passive aggressive. The final style is assertive. Now, assertive is probably what we should all strive to be. Assertive communicators use I statements, and not because they're selfish, because they claim their feelings, their emotions, their opinions. They're really connecting to their words, and they're also generally good listeners. An assertive communicator, might take initiative by starting a conversation. They also know when to take the backseat. Now, a lot of times you can see this style of communication in moments of silence. Moments of silence always happen in conversations, it is Okay. Our brains can only digest so much information at once, so getting comfortable in silence is a good time to reflect on how things are going. If there is a moment of silence, think, is this comfortable? Should I insert a question? Should I just be quiet and comfortable in this moment? Now, something when you're thinking about conversations, you want to take turns being the driver and the passenger. If you're an aggressive communicator, you're probably used to being the driver all the time. If you're a passive communicator, you want to be the passenger the entire time and if you're a passive aggressive communicator, you are the passenger and want to be the driver, you want to make things move forward, but you can't or you don't. If you're assertive, you know to take turns. You can't drive all the time, and you can't be a passenger all the time, so sometimes you take the initiative and ask the question, and sometimes you just sit back and listen. Now, when you're really checking in with your style, think about how you can best use it. If you're an aggressive communicator, take some time to step back, take a breath, and do some active listening which is what we're going to talk about next. If you're passive, really make one of your success goals to ask a question. If you're passive aggressive, just stop that, please, and go on the line of assertive. Make some of those I statements. The more you do it, the easier it gets, I promise. Remember, you can't drive the whole way. You're going to get tired and fall asleep at the wheel. See you next time guys. 7. Active Listening: Hello, I'm Jen Brown with the engaging educator and welcome back to Small Talk 101. We're going to start talking about active listening. Now, this is something that definitely will not be fixed after this short lesson. It's something you're definitely going to have to work on. So the first thing to remember is active listening is a choice. We all hear things. I hear the noises on the street, I hear a car squeaking outside, you might have different buzzing, different computers sounds, any kind of noise that's going on with where you are. The thing is, you make a choice to listen to that or not. Hearing, you hear it all the time, if you have hearing and listening, you are actually digesting this information. You're tapping into it, you're thinking about it, you're maybe qualifying it, you're making a decision on it, you're maybe digging in a little deeper. In order to really use active listening to our advantage in Small Talk, we have to think about what that looks like. So there are verbal and nonverbal ways to do active listening. Verbal, and we've all done it. See, I'm also doing a non-verbal, I'm nodding. This smile and nod at now, adults for this reason are awful, because adults will smile and nod and they'll think about dinner or their date, or their email box. They won't actually be paying attention to what you're saying. So the smile and nod that verbal and nonverbal way is not often the best. So one of the ways, a verbal way that you actually can show that you're paying attention and listening is you can ask a question. But before and to those questions that we're talking about, the big thing to really do is show that you're listening, not just tell that you're listening. So when you're showing your listening, you're engaging yourself, you're engaging your body, you're engaging your verbal and your nonverbal. Because remember that 100 percent winning tip. You really want to show people that you are listening to them if you're asking a question. Because if you ask a question and you don't listen to the answer, why ask the question? What's the point? Who cares? So again, remember those areas of the brain that light up when people are talking about themselves and being listened to, and you want to be associated with those good feelings. So now, thinking about those verbals and non-verbals we're going to go back to the questions. Questions are an excellent way to show that you're listening and not just any questions. You really want to get questions that get more information, see how they feel about something and not a question that just comes in to insert yourself in a conversation. So maybe if again, you're in a room like this and you see a bunch of plants. Maybe a person is talking about the room and notices like, wow, there's a lot of plants in here, and maybe the question is, "Hey, do you like plants?" Or "Hey do you have plants at home?" Now, what that's doing is taking something out of what they just said in improv, that's actually called a gift. These little bits of information that you can pick up, take, and use to further a conversation. So they mentioned the plants when talking about this room. So then you you heard plants and we'll ask a question about plants. Now, that's not the only way to show that you're actively listening is asking questions. You also can use my favorite improv phrase of YES, AND. Actually I have it tattooed on my arm right here because I believe in it that strongly. So what "yes, and" does, is it affirms what the person says and it adds to it. So if someone says, "I really love plants." You might say, "Yeah, you love plants and I absolutely kill every plant that comes into my place." So you've taken what they're saying and you're adding some information to it. Now that might go back and forth for a little bit. A nice way to also show that you're listening is avoid the "yes, and" just think it. You don't have to say that very contrived yes, when people are talking and you're repeating something that they just said and then adding information to it. Now the big difference here is you don't want to say the word, but what the but does, is it elevates one opinion above another. So if you were to say, "I love plants" and you're saying you love plants, but I killed them all. Like your "But I kill them all" is not more important than that person loving plants, yet you just made it more important by that but. So again, the "and" is an equal sign. So by putting them together, "You love plants and I kill everyone that comes into my house." "How do you keep them alive?" Look at that. You got affirmation. You added some information because you're showing that you're listening and then you're turning it back to them. So you took the driver roll and then became the passenger when you gave the gift back to hear how to care for plants. Now, this may sound super contrived, like you're overthinking all these conversations. These are definitely in the moment things to do. You just have to be paying attention. Again, you have to make that choice of I am actively listening to you. I'm making eye contact with you, I'm smiling, I'm asking questions, I'm nodding once in a while not becoming a bobbing head dog, but you are actually paying attention. That's it for this time. Will see you next time and have a great day. Remember, you always can ask questions. 8. Leaving the Conversation: Hello. Welcome back to Small Talk 101, I'm Jen Brown. Now, what happens when you are in a conversation and you need to leave? Like this is not going well, this is not something you want to continue or it's going fine and you just want to talk to other people or you legit have to leave. This is all about getting the out of those conversations. So when you notice a conversation is not going well, one of the best things you can do is think about a need. Why do you need to go, and by voicing this need in an assertive matter, I need to go to the bathroom, I need to get some food, I need to go talk to that person over there. This need often isn't challenged by saying, "I'm going to go to the bathroom." You're making a statement that you're coming back without saying that you're coming back, because you're not ending the conversation in a solid point. By saying, I need to go to the bathroom and then having that next moments of, it was great talking to you, I hope to see you again. You're gracefully exiting and suggesting another time. Now, this can work in any situation, I promise. You just need to have a few needs in your back pocket. So right now, I want you to take a moment and brainstorm two exit lines that could work anywhere. Some examples of this. Again, you need to go to the bathroom. You need to grab some food. You need to talk to your boss. You need to have a cup of coffee. You need to check your phone because the baby sitter. Or you need to check the puppy cam. Anything you have going on, make sure that need is very clear, and then when you're thinking about that graceful exit line by saying, I need to x, it was great chatting with you. Here's my card, it was great talking to you, can I have your card? Now, this can also be used when you're in one of those situations, where that person is just talking your ear off and you're like, "I got to go, I don't want to be here anymore. How can I leave, SOS eyes to all my friends or to everyone else in the whole world." This is a great time to use one of those exit lines. Now, you're not hurting that person's feelings. You're saying, "Hey, I need to go to the bathroom." Or, "Hey, I need to go get some food. This was really excellent talking, can we set up some time to meet or call or have coffee next week?" Now, you might be in a conversation with a person that just wants to hear themselves talk and they may never contact you again. They might contact you again, and then you deal with that at that moment. But right now, your goal is to get out of that conversation. So having the need and setting up another time, even by saying, "This has been amazing, I really need to talk to a few other people tonight. Can we set up time to chat? Here's my card, or can I have your card?" That gives you this incredibly graceful and adult way of leaving a conversation. Now, I'm using my own words, I want you to really dig in on your discussion sheet on what words work for you. Now if you have some questions, if those words are too aggressive or too passive or passive aggressive, definitely comment and let's talk about this. Exit lines can get people really nervous until they start using them more often. If you think about it, that's probably where a lot of stress about networking and small talk comes in when you're stuck in a conversation and you can't get out, so you don't want to do it again. So really spend some time thinking about those exit lines and let me know if you have any questions, I would love to give you some help. Bye. 9. Recap + What's Next: Hello and welcome back. You did it. We made it through all of those small talk lessons. Again, keep in mind, this is not something that'll be fixed today. This definitely is not something that you just do once and you're perfect small talker. This is something you're going to have to spend some time on. Please, definitely give yourself the time to warm up. Pay attention to your voice and your body. Really tap into that audience. What's your elevator pitch? How do you get into conversations? What are some topics that you want to talk about? What about active listening? Are you yes ending, are you paying attention, are you going, Jane I am, I am? Or, are you really taking that moment to figure out what you need in that conversation? Please share all your projects and conversations below and I will definitely review and reply. I really want this to be a discussion group with us. That being said, thank you so much and good luck small talking. Bye.