Introvert Networking Success: Three Skills for Mastering Small Talk | Shelia Huggins | Skillshare

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Introvert Networking Success: Three Skills for Mastering Small Talk

teacher avatar Shelia Huggins, Lifestyle & Business

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Importance of Small Talk


    • 3.

      Why Small Talk is So Hard


    • 4.

      Get Ready for the Small Talk Event


    • 5.

      When You Arrive at the Small Talk Event


    • 6.

      Skill #1


    • 7.

      Skill #2


    • 8.

      Skill #3


    • 9.

      The Class Project


    • 10.

      Leaving the Event


    • 11.

      Wrap it Up


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About This Class

Who this class is for:

This class is specifically designed to provide actionable strategies and tips for introverts who want to be better prepared to handle networking events. However, please note that the tips that are provided can be useful to anyone who wants to develop better skills for mastering small talk.

What you will get out of this class:

  • You'll learn three skills that you can develop so that you can interact with others more easily at networking events.
  • You'll learn which groups of people to approach when you're attending a networking event.
  • You'll learn strategies to help you keep the conversation going after you've made your initial introduction.
  • You'll be given ten questions that you can use to minimize those awkward moments of silence.
  • You'll learn how to answer the two questions that you get asked most often.

There are no prerequisites, software, or equipment requirements for this class.

Why I created this class:

I'm an introvert.

However, I'm also very involved in my community. I speak at public events. I teach workshops, and attend social functions. All of these are opportunities for me to connect with others and build meaningful relationships.'s much harder to do that if I show up without a plan.

And now, I'm sharing that plan with you.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Shelia Huggins

Lifestyle & Business




Shelia Huggins is a North Carolina business law attorney and lifestyle strategist, and she's ready to help you reach your goals. She's taught numerous legal courses, including Entertainment and Business Law in the university setting. She has a certificate in Documentary Studies from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and has worked on several documentary projects.


Shelia has spoken at Wake Forest University School of Law, Duke University School of Business and formerly served on the Board of Visitors for the School of Business at North Carolina Centra... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Sheila. Welcome to the course that's going to help you develop three skills for mastering small talk. If you're an introvert like I am, then you know that sometimes it can be especially difficult to meet new people and developing mutually beneficial relationship. You may even feel overcome with a sensation that stops you in your tracks when you walk into an event. Or maybe you just sort of hover in the corner or near the food table by yourself watching everyone else chat and mingle. And while you know that you want to meet people, you're just not sure the best way you can do it. You might even wonder how others do it so well, how there's so at ease with it all. If only it were that way for me you think to yourself, well, it can be. In this class we're going to discuss three skills that you can develop to help you master the art of small talk? Yes, you heard me, right? Just three things. Trust me, this doesn't need to be some long bucket list and know, I've made this easy and simple for you. But right about now you're probably wondering, well, Sheila, who are you and why should I even be listening to you? Well, because I've been there as a former candidate for public office and attorney, a mom and someone who attends a lot community professional and organizational events. You've got quite a bit of experience in this area. I've been in rooms where I didn't know a single person. And yet I also knew that I needed to meet people and to get to know them. So take it from someone who has been there often, there are ways to master the art of small talk. And I'm here to help you develop three skills that will get you on your way. 2. The Importance of Small Talk: Now let's talk about why mastering small talk is important. And we're going to focus on two main areas, personal growth and professional growth. Smalltalk isn't just about meeting new people for the sake of networking. It can benefit you in other ways. Your ability to have conversations with people will open up doors for both new and old relationships. If you're in the market for a significant other, how do you ever expect to meet this person if you can't even walk up and introduce yourself, what if you just want to find new friends or people who might have similar interests? What if you want to join clubs or community organizations? Meeting new people and building relationships with them, requires that first step, the introduction, and then the follow-up, which is what we usually call small talk. Connecting with people who we haven't seen for a while might require a bit of small talk also, in the end, it's not just about talking though, it's about connecting, building relationships and building trust. It's a way to meet new people, possibly learn new things, and have a more fulfilled life. Then there's the professional growth aspect, which is what we typically think of. When we think of small talk, you've heard the saying that most people find jobs through their network. You're looking for a job. Mastering the art of small talk is a key component of building your professional network. But it's not just the job, is also about building a network of mentors and advocates as you develop as a professional. These are people you need in your life as a part of your professional board of advisors. They are people you trust who will help you develop and implement your career goals. Goals that may include things like getting additional education, finding a new job, or maybe even serving on a corporate board. This is why mastering the art of small talk really matters. 3. Why Small Talk is So Hard: Small targets hard for a number of reasons. So let's go down the list. And once we do that, take a moment to think about which reasons applied to u. First, small talk can be uncomfortable when something is new and different, uncomfortable or maybe it has too many unknowns. It's not something that we're going to be excited about doing. Most of us don't easily accept change. And although we may eventually adapt to a new job, changed circumstances, or different people, the feelings that we have about those things can keep us from fully enjoying the benefits and advantages that may come with those changes. Second, we may have had previous bad experience is if we feel like it's not something that we've gotten right before, well, rarely less likely to feel like we're going to get it right this time. Either. Third, we may have a fear that we'll say or do the wrong thing. So let's just go ahead and put that one to bed. We're human. We're sometimes going to say or do the wrong thing. When it happens, we should apologize, make amends, and guess what? Move on. 4th, we're concerned that that new person won't like us. Now, let's talk about that. We're just not going to click with everyone. Instead, imagine that you are seeking out people who really want to connect with you. And people you really want to connect with all those other people, okay? Don't worry about them. They'll find the people that they're supposed to be with and that's okay. It's tire vague and it takes energy. Yes, We know this. So stay fueled and plan to rest afterward. 4. Get Ready for the Small Talk Event: Before we get into the three skills, I want briefly mentioned a few strategies that think about as you prepare for your small talk event. First, dress appropriately so that you're not self-conscious the whole time. You don't want to be worrying about whether or not your dresses too short are constantly shuffling your feet because your shoes are too tight. Instead, where one of your favorite go-to outfits, something that you can always count on, that fits well and that presents the image that you want to present. Second, don't arrive late. If you arrive late, you'll always be wondering whether or not you miss out on something. You'll also have a harder time being a part of conversations. Meeting people because many people will have already broken up into small groups. You'll feel like you're interrupting and feel even more uncomfortable about meeting people you don't know. Third, don't take a crutch with you. Leave your best friend, your router, die your homie, literally at home and go it alone. Practice doing this on your own with no crutch. Remember, practice builds confidence. Confidence builds performance. 5. When You Arrive at the Small Talk Event: Congratulations on making it this far. You just want one video away from those three skills. But before we talk about those, I want you to think about this as you arrive at your small talk event, seek out the host first. Once you arrive, if you know the host, just saying hi and thank the hose for inviting you. This will help you feel a little bit more comfortable before you start to engage with all those other people that you don't know. If you don't know the host, use this as an opportunity to sort of get your feet wet. You might want to use the following example as an opening. Hi, my name is Sheila, just going to come over and introduce myself in. David invited me. He mentioned that you were hosting this great event and thought that we might want to connect because and then talk a little bit about that. Once you've made your opening statement, give the host a chance to respond, then go about your merry way. Do not use the host as your crutch. I know that it will be difficult to decide who to approach next, but I know you can do this. Okay, so let's get started with those three skills. 6. Skill #1: Now let's finally talk about the three skills that are going to help you master the art of small talk, okay, developing skill number 1. First, how do you decide who you're going to talk to? When you walk into a room full of people and you will see anyone you know, it can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. You're not sure who to approach or when to even approach someone. Maybe you play with your cell phone or maybe you pick up a drink. But none of those actions are really helpful when it comes to actually meeting people. Instead, look for a person who appears to be alone, errant, talking to anyone. They aren't on their phone, maybe they're just standing around sort of taking in the scene starts there, that we aren't interrupting anyone. Once you've singled that person out, consider the following openers to get you started. First, if the person is standing alone, Hi, I'm Sheila. Than give him a chance to respond. How do you know? And then insert the name of the host. If the person has a plate of food, you can say, Hi, I'm Sheila. I see that you're trying out the insert the name of the food. I was thinking about trying that myself. How is it? The thing to remember with this one is that you have to be careful to give them a chance to finish eating before they respond. So this does require a bit more consideration of the timing. If the person is seated, you can say, Hi, I'm Sheila. Is this seat taken? And yes, this still works. If you're wondering if there is no one standing alone, then head over to one of the larger groups, because it's a larger group, it typically takes awhile for everyone an opportunity to speak. And therefore, you're more likely to find someone else who is looking for someone to talk, to. Try not to join conversations that only have two people. Those are the conversations that can be harder to break into. So use those as a last resort. Now that you know how to find who to talk to, let's talk about how to build the conversation and keep you from feeling offered. You know, how do you keep those weird silent moments from cropping up. 7. Skill #2: Welcome to skill number two, where we discuss how to handle silence. A lot of times we felt awkward because we don't know what to say next, but we're looking at this all wrong. In other words, stop focusing on what you should be saying. Instead, focus on the other person by asking questions. Once you've completed your initial introductions, ask follow-up questions. Here's the strategy. The question should not be questions that can be answered with a yes or a no. This kills the dialogue instantly. Instead, ask open-ended questions. Consider asking questions that require them to think a little bit. They should be questions like the following. What was that like? What did you think of that experience? Do you think you'll ever do that again? So how did that work out? Oh, my goodness. What happened next? How did that and how did that change things for you? Why do you think they were thinking? And how do you respond to something like that? I'm interested in that. Also any tips or guidance you can give me. So there you go. There are ten and questions to get you started that you can use in almost any setting. As an introvert, it can be easier to handle conversations if you plan ahead and that the focus isn't on you, but focusing on the other party gives you a chance to reserve some of your energy and actually get to know the other person. 8. Skill #3: And the less time for our last skill writing, the blurbs, there are two questions that we get asked a lot in social and professional settings. Tell me about yourself and what do you do? Most of the time the other person isn't looking for a book from you. They're just trying to get the conversation started. And those are easy go-to questions. But most people, especially introverts, don't walk around with go-to answers. We tend to babble and ramble on. In this lesson, we're going to review a few things that you may want to consider for your go-to answers. Let's start with the first question. Tell me about yourself. A good opening blurb doesn't need to be a bio. You can start with these three items. What you do, what you like, and what brings you here. In other words, you may want to mention your profession, then your hobbies, and how you ended up at the event. So here's an example. Hi, my name is Sheila. I'm an attorney who focuses on business and social media, hot during the day, but like spending my time running and working out, I enjoy a lot of fitness Econ the staff, and I actually know care of from the gym and she invited me over to this event. Done. But think about how that blurb opens up the door to so many questions I can further your conversation. These topics can include business, social media, law, law school, running races, gym membership costs at her workouts, physicals, and more. For instance, you could follow up with one of the open-ended questions that I listed previously, such as, I'm interested in law school also, do you any guidance or tips you can give me? Now, what about that second question? What do you do? Again, this doesn't to be a long bio. You can start with these three items, past, present, and future. Here's an example. Well, currently our practice law focusing mostly on business law and social media. But I actually used to be a chemist, like just sort of took me in that direction. But now I'm actually thinking about being more of a social media business consultant and doing less law done. And again, look at the variety of topics for conversation that can result from those two sentences, law, social media, career growth, consulting, business, and more. So there you go. Three skills that will help any introvert succeed at networking. 9. The Class Project: For the class project, you're going to write a Tell me about yourself blurb and a, what do you do blurb using the prompts that were provided to you in the last lesson. Don't forget to share your blurbs if you feel comfortable doing so. In writing your blurbs and remember, for the tell me about yourself blurb. You want to focus on maybe your profession, your hobbies, and how you ended up at the event. And for your what do you do blurb. You might want to mention that past, present, and future. Good luck. 10. Leaving the Event: Because this is about networking success are also want to talk a little about how leave any event before you leave, make sure that you've gotten contact information from everyone that you intended to meet and people that you want to follow up with. And don't forget to thank for those and any sponsors who supported the event. Once your home or back at the office, send a short email thanking the host, and then emails to those attendees that you need to follow up with. Go ahead and do this while it's fresh on your mind because we haven't tendency to forget. And if you have a software program that you use to manage all of your contacts going in and add all of that little extra information, including any personal nuggets that you want to remember. 11. Wrap it Up: And thanks for taking this class. I hope that the three skills we focused on will make your next networking event a little less stressful and more productive. And remember, you don't have to use all three skills at one time. You can choose to focus on the one or two skills that are most important to you. In other words, you can build as you go. Congratulations on completing the course. Pth.