The Serious Business of Small Talk: Becoming Fluent, Comfortable, and Charming

  • 2h 44m
  • Carol A. Fleming
  • Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • 2018

For a lucky few, light conversation at parties and social events is a breeze. For the rest of us, there is Carol Fleming (bestselling author of It's the Way You Say It), who breaks even the shortest bit of small talk into an understandable process that anyone can master.

Small Talk Is the Single Most Important Communication Skill You Can Develop

Carol Fleming wants to show you that small talk is not as "small" as you might think. It's the foundation of every relationship, professional and personal. It is the sound of people reaching out to each other, searching for similarities, shared interests, goodwill, connections, and friendship. And it's something we all do every day with people we know. It's just the one little bit about strangers that throws some people off. Graceful social conversation can be learned, even by those requiring the smallest of baby steps.

Fleming covers the inner and outer aspects--from the right attitude to how to dress, move around, and introduce yourself. Most importantly, she lays out a series of simple, memorable conversational strategies that make it easy to go from "Nice weather we're having" to a genuine, rewarding give-and-take. But she won't tell you what to say. Believe it or not, you already have what you need inside you. She merely provides the keys to unlock it.

Small talk is the language of welcome, the extension of friendliness, the gracious acknowledgment of others, the kindly exchange of introductions and smiles, and the creation of a safe, courteous social space--and this is what has you terrified? After you read this book, you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

About the Author

Carol A. Fleming, PhD, is a personal communication coach specializing in vocal development and bringing her unique knowledge and skills to the speaking needs of individual and corporate clients. She is the author of the bestselling It's the Way You Say It and is currently the chair of the Member-Led Forums for the Commonwealth Club.

In this Book

  • Introduction—How Do You Do? How Nice to Meet You!
  • What is Small Talk For? Do You Want New Friends? Start Here
  • How Do We Go about Changing? First, Go outside
  • Why is Talkin' about Nothin' So Darned Hard? Let Me Count the Ways
  • Small Talk 101—On Style and Substance
  • ARE—Anchor, Reveal, Encourage—The Cure for “But I Never Know What to Say!”
  • Just Say Hello, Leo—Hello—The First Word toward World Peace
  • Starting from Social Ground Zero—How to Get a Life Worth Talking about
  • Being More Attractive—You Know What Grandma Said about Flies and Honey!
  • Being More Interesting—Why Knowledge is Small Talk Gold
  • Being More Interested—The Best Way to Defeat Self-Consciousness
  • Won't You Have Some of My Spiced Nuts? What Do You Bring to the Party?
  • Being Approachable—The Power of Your Silent Language
  • Hi, My Name is…—Making Introductions, Especially Your Own
  • Eating, Drinking, and Walking Around—How to Circulate and Not Spill
  • The Mystery of Good Manners—Warmth, Respect, and Small Talk
  • Men versus Women—Clash of the Communication Styles—The Ultimate Us/Them Dilemma
  • How Do I Get Out of This? Making a Graceful Exit
  • What are You Saying about You? Your Voice among others
  • How to Raise Fluent, Comfortable, and Charming Kids—Teach Your Children Well
  • Small Talk and Cell Phones, like Oil and Water—And Never the Two Shall Mix
  • Conclusion—Small Talk Just May Be Bigger than You Think—And it's Better than You Think
  • Resources—Read Any Good Books Lately?
  • Bibliography