The Fine Art of Small Talk - How To Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills

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Nationally recognized communication expert Debra Fine reveals the techniques and strategies anyone can use to make small talk--in any situation. Do you spend an abnormal amount of time hiding out in the bathroom or hanging out at the buffet t...
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Nationally recognized communication expert Debra Fine reveals the techniques and strategies anyone can use to make small talk--in any situation. Do you spend an abnormal amount of time hiding out in the bathroom or hanging out at the buffet table at social gatherings? Does the thought of striking up a conversation with a stranger make your stomach do flip-flops? Do you sit nervously through job interviews waiting for the other person to speak? Are you a "Nervous Ned or Nellie" when it comes to networking? Then it's time you mastered The Fine Art of Small Talk.

With practical advice and conversation "cheat sheets," The Fine Art of Small Talk will help you learn to feel more comfortable in any type of social situation, from lunch with the boss to an association event to a cocktail party where you don't know a soul.
 


Product Details

Hardcover: 240 pages

     
     
     

    Editorial Reviews

    From Publishers Weekly

    Would-be social butterflies will get encouragement but little inspiration from this not quite scintillating self-help primer. Fine, a conversation consultant, insists that small talk is the necessary overture to deeper communication, the key to generating business leads and dates and a pathway to a richer life in which strangers are magically transformed into acquaintances. She covers such cocktail-party conundrums as how to spot "approachable" interlocutors, how to make introductions, how to butt into an intriguing conversation, resuscitate a flagging one and bail out of a boring one, and how to resist one-uppers, know-it-alls, motormouths and other abusers of talk. Given the ingrained human reluctance to talk to strangers, will, not technique, is the real issue. Much of the book is taken up with motivational pep-talks to get readers to initiate contact (one agonizing exercise suggests "walk through the mall and just say hello to ten people as you pass them"); in a world where everyone feels at a loss for words, Fine argues, saying virtually anything makes one a "hero." Unfortunately, it doesn't necessarily make one a great conversationalist. The heart of Fine's methodology consists of long lists of icebreakers and inviting questions that she instructs readers to memorize and regurgitate as needed to jump-start and sustain conversations, and these read like rather bad small-talk-dull ("How has the internet affected your life?"), stilted ("Do you have a personal motto or creed?") and awkward ("Describe an embarrassing moment you've had."). Tongue-tied readers can benefit from her pointers and exhortation, but one hopes they will think a little harder before they speak.
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
     

    From Library Journal

    These two books treat similar subjects, but the contrasts are significant. One covers the entire landscape of speaking, whereas the other focuses just on "small talk." The title of Speak from the Heart describes the book's very solid premise. Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and motivational speaker Adubato emphasizes the importance of being genuine as he attempts to cover every conceivable speaking situation, including public speaking, private conversations, group discussions, and listening. He guides readers in the use of eye contact, developing a conversational style, and being comfortable with their message. Despite many charming personal anecdotes and stories drawn from other sources, this book remains a heavy read. Ironically, while Adubato tells us to make a connection with our audience rather than to "cover the material," he does a much better job of covering the material than of connecting. In contrast, Fine fully engages her audience. She involves readers in the discussion and gives lists of lines people can use to start, maintain, or end a conversation. She discusses conversation topics and how to use them and also includes quizzes, throws in a poem, and scatters a few cartoons to break up the text. Originally released as an audiocassette in 1997, this work comes across much like one of her seminars on small talk. The Fine Art of Small Talk does everything that Speak from the Heart says should be done. Adubato's book is best for academic libraries or large public and business libraries. Fine's is a better choice for most public libraries, as well as business libraries. David Leonhardt, Toronto 
    Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
     

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    61 of 62 people found the following review helpfulBy Cris McLaughlin on November 15, 2005
    Format: Hardcover
    I found myself walking around day to day saying, "folks just aren't friendly"... my neighbors, church members, parents at my child's school, folks I see every day/week at the grocery store and believe it or not relatives. I think Debra Fine has hit on some of the key reasons that I was not finding folks to be "friendly". Some of the reasons being: we are socialized to be wary of strangers, we think too many questions makes us nosy, introducing ourselves and others is not easy always, initiating, carrying on and ending a conversation is a challenge and lastly, finding similarities and interest in our conversation partners is hard at times.

    Ms. Fine advised that no one can wait to be introduced or expect someone else to initiate the conversation and she is right. When I used the suggestions it made a world of difference in the contacts and connections that I began to make. I used the suggestions in professional and personal settings, with women and men and with folks my age and teens.

    What I relay to folks when I use these techniques is "I care about you" and "I am interested in you as a person". The feedback I have recieved from people is that I make them feel good, in a world that is too busy I take time. That is really the bottom line about this book, why would I not use the suggestions when the potential is to evoke that kind of feeling from folks that you interact with everyday of your life.

    Lastly, I have used this book in many ways. I have passed the book to my husband who works in a technical field is reading the book and has begun using some of the suggestions at his workplace and finding them to be applicable. As a homeschooling parent I used the book as part of a communciations curriculum for my 16-year-old son. Many of the stategies he used to get a job and now to maintain his employment; he has been told he is a wonderful conversationalist.
     

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