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Be a Small Talk Survivor this Holiday Party Season!
By Debra Fine

Does the thought of attending one more open house, business event, or social gathering this holiday season make you want to throw yourself overboard? You are not alone. Many people become nervous or apprehensive when meeting new people and starting new conversations. It can be difficult to enter a room and be ambushed by new faces everywhere you turn. Meeting all these new faces and engaging in conversation can be exhausting. But it does not have to be this way.

Become a small talk survivor. Small talk survivors turn these situations into opportunities for success. These holiday events all have the potential to become great networking possibilities.

Whether you are at a business meet and greet or a neighbor’s holiday get together, you can use conversational skills as a tool with which to build new connections, while avoiding awkward pauses and uncomfortable conversations. After all, any relationship starts with small talk.

The first step in becoming a small talk survivor is realizing just how important conversational skills are. Mastering the art of small talk is not only essential in forming new relationships, but also in creating lasting impressions. With the right approach and preparation anyone can become a skilled conversationalist. Great small talkers are made, not born.

The next time you find yourself at a holiday function, try one of these top ten icebreakers:

  1. “How do you know the host/hostess”?
  2. “What are some of your family holiday traditions?”
  3. “Since we have last gotten together, what is new with your family/work?”
  4. “Tell me about your plans for this holiday season…”
  5. “What is your favorite thing about the holiday season? Why?”
  6. “Bring me up to date on what you have coming up/planned for the upcoming year?”
  7. “Describe your typical holiday festivities…”
  8. “What special gifts do you have planned to give this year?”
  9. “What was the best gift you ever received? Why?”
  10. “How does the holiday season impact your work/industry?”

Once you have broken the ice, follow these important tips to ensure your small talk success:

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Mastering The Art of Small Talk

Debra Fine special on CBS Channel 4 News. Debra Fine is a professional speaker, best selling author, conversation expert, communication guru, and a nationally recognized spokesperson.

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Covers everything from icebreakers to exit lines. Building business, getting dates, making friends or landing jobs this book is guaranteed to improve conversational skills, mingling ability, and networking techniques.

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Debra's January 2008 follow up book to her bestseller. The Fine Art of the Big Talk: How to Win Clients, Deliver Great Presentations, and Solve Conflicts at Work.

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Offering practical advice and cheat sheets Beyond Texting strives to help teens balance their digital and real world image and relationships.

The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills – And Leave a Positive Impression! (Unabridged) Nationally recognized communication expert, keynote speaker and trainer, and best-selling author 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?

Our group of 500 participants thought you were wonderful. They loved the topic and your wonderfully energetic and amusing delivery. Many people told me we should have given you twice as much time. In the eight years that we have sponsored this conference you have proved to be our most popular luncheon speaker. The response was simply overwhelming"
Melodye A. Turek
Executive Director
Colorado Safety Association