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The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills and Leave a Positive Impression!

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills and Leave a Positive Impression!

  1. 4 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    Hello, my name is Heidi and I am bad at small talk. It's not that I don't have things to say — I can think of plenty of things to say. The things just don't make it out of my mouth. Enter Debra Fine, self-help author and speaking coach. She believes small talk is a skill that can be taught and mastered by even the most hopeless conversationalist. Fine begins by detailing her own life experience as a poor conversationalist and how she remade herself into a conversational dynamo. And she hopes to do Hello, my name is Heidi and I am bad at small talk. It's not that I don't have things to say — I can think of plenty of things to say. The things just don't make it out of my mouth. Enter Debra Fine, self-help author and speaking coach. She believes small talk is a skill that can be taught and mastered by even the most hopeless conversationalist. Fine begins by detailing her own life experience as a poor conversationalist and how she remade herself into a conversational dynamo. And she hopes to do the same for her readers. Most of the advice in The Fine Art of Small Talk is common sense stuff, but I can still see it being useful to me in the future. For example, she encourages readers to be brave and initiate conversations in public situations. Look for the people sitting by themselves. They might appreciate your attempts to chat. Also, if you don't start a conversation, he or she may believe you're being stand-offish. That's not a belief you'd want to encourage. Actually, I have a very shy friend, one of the librarians I worked with, who swore by this technique of finding a person sitting by themselves. She did extremely well at parties by finding the quietest person in the room and starting a conversation with them. Next, once you're talking to someone, learn his or her name and how to appropriately pronounce it. Ask open-ended questions to foster the conversations and reduce any potentially awkward pauses. Fine recommends using the acronym "FORM" to help you create these questions. FORM stands for family, occupation, recreation and miscellaneous. Don't be rude and press into topics that people seem reluctant to talk about. Just gently steer the conversation around the recommended general topics and let the person you're conversing with lead. Make sure to pay attention to any verbal cues or body language the other person gives you. Obviously, this can be more difficult over the phone, so just actively listen. And finally, exit the conversation gracefully by going back to the topic you started talking about in the first place or offering to follow up with the person by giving a phone number or email. Now that you have all the tools of small talk, your assignment is to practice it. Yikes. As I said, nothing earth-shattering in here, but in an age of increasing social disconnection because of technology, perhaps these tips could be useful to anyone who is seeking to improve their relationships through small talk. Recommended for all the tongue-tied bibliophiles out there, like me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marley

    I figured out awhile back that even the very best self-help books contain about a pamphlet's worth of good ideas padded out to book length with anecdotes, redundant bullet points, and the occasional not-very-funny cartoon. With the lowered expectations of that definition, this is a pretty good book since it contains about a pamphlet's worth of good ideas. The actual suggested talking points are more stilted and awkward than anything you could think up yourself and if you didn't already know whic I figured out awhile back that even the very best self-help books contain about a pamphlet's worth of good ideas padded out to book length with anecdotes, redundant bullet points, and the occasional not-very-funny cartoon. With the lowered expectations of that definition, this is a pretty good book since it contains about a pamphlet's worth of good ideas. The actual suggested talking points are more stilted and awkward than anything you could think up yourself and if you didn't already know which subjects to avoid (politics, religion) you've got bigger social problems than this book can fix. However, the author manages to make a few good points and reminded me of a few things I hadn't perhaps taken seriously enough. (Such as pointing out that shyness can be misconstrued as rudeness if you seem to be avoiding conversation and that sometimes taking the aggressive position of initiating the conversation and asking the questions can be a shy person's best defense against being cornered.) The general focus of the book is on business networking and the section on dating consists mainly of anecdotes more likely to scare you off dating than increase your confidence in social small talk. Hence, I think I'd be more likely to recommend this to business people than to someone just interested in making friends, but even there it has some helpful points for the socially inept.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Like many people, I can't stand "small talk" or "icebreakers" and I generally avoid social situations in which these skills are necessary. I recently returned from a vacation on which I had pledged that I'd try to be better at talking to random people, and I entirely failed on that goal. I never seem to sit next to a chatty Kathy on an airplane. I don't strike up conversations with locals at bars or restaurants. If I am approached by someone in these situations, my default reaction is usually to Like many people, I can't stand "small talk" or "icebreakers" and I generally avoid social situations in which these skills are necessary. I recently returned from a vacation on which I had pledged that I'd try to be better at talking to random people, and I entirely failed on that goal. I never seem to sit next to a chatty Kathy on an airplane. I don't strike up conversations with locals at bars or restaurants. If I am approached by someone in these situations, my default reaction is usually to be defensive instead of open. I shoot back one word responses and don't ask open ended questions, because I usually don't want to speak with the person beyond that. A man that works in my building told me I needed to smile the other day, and I'm still harboring resentment toward him days later for that comment. I know he's from an older generation and probably means well, but it's 2018. Don't say that. A lot of the conversation topics and ideas in this book seem incredibly robotic and unnatural to even say. I was surprised to see the book was written in 2005. It reads as very dated. Many of the suggestions seemed geared toward business interactions as well, which isn't my area. I took a few pointers away from this book but they were mostly seeing aspects of myself in the "bad conversation skills" section. I accept this and can maybe sort of try to do better. After reading this book, I've come to the realization that I don't really think I'm meant to talk to random people. I'm guilty of instantly judging people from the second I see them or am introduced. I make a snap decision if the person is worthy of my time or not, and I'm usually right. A key component to this book's suggestions is to express genuine interest in what other people are talking about and I'm genuinely not interested most of the time. Life is too short to suffer through conversations I don't care about. If this dooms me to solitude and spinsterhood then I guess that's fine.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Warren Friedman

    I recently looked up this book, ordered it from the library, and read it. Very, very good. I'm one of these people who never feels he has anything to say to anybody I'm not really close to. So it occurred to me, "I need to learn how to make small talk!" I used to look down and demean small talk. Debra (author) shows how small talk is indeed important and meaningful, and she teaches how to do it. I'm practicing and I find she's really onto something! I need to keep practicing. I'm going to buy th I recently looked up this book, ordered it from the library, and read it. Very, very good. I'm one of these people who never feels he has anything to say to anybody I'm not really close to. So it occurred to me, "I need to learn how to make small talk!" I used to look down and demean small talk. Debra (author) shows how small talk is indeed important and meaningful, and she teaches how to do it. I'm practicing and I find she's really onto something! I need to keep practicing. I'm going to buy this book to keep on hand to reference when needed.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Tse

    This is a good book to learn more about conversation skills. It lets you know what kind of things are important to a conversation, like maintaining eye contact, listening attentively, etc. Some of the things seem kind of basic initially, but we can know it but still not do it correctly. We all frequently find ourselves trying to multi-task, using the computer while talking, etc. Eating while talking is fine, but Debra reminds us that we need to be focus on the conversation and the person or our This is a good book to learn more about conversation skills. It lets you know what kind of things are important to a conversation, like maintaining eye contact, listening attentively, etc. Some of the things seem kind of basic initially, but we can know it but still not do it correctly. We all frequently find ourselves trying to multi-task, using the computer while talking, etc. Eating while talking is fine, but Debra reminds us that we need to be focus on the conversation and the person or our mind will easily drift to other things. I especially like the chapter about crimes and misdemeanors: The FBI agent (someone who asks too many questions so the conversation doesn't flow), the braggart, the one-upper, the monopolizer, the interrupter, the poor sport, the know-it-all, and the advisor. This book inspires the reader to pay more attention to our conversations, networking, and connecting with others. Favorite Quote: "Guess what? Most of us are ordinary people just trying to live our lives. We worry about paying bills, educating kids, our favorite team winning a championship, getting a promotion, caring for elderly parents, taking an occasional vacation, having time for a hobby, and relaxing now and then. We are more alike than we are different, and our commmonality as human beings opens the door for connection and conversation." (P. 61)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    This was was somewhat helpful, but it had so many DO and DON'T lists that the book became tedious. This was was somewhat helpful, but it had so many DO and DON'T lists that the book became tedious.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Niel (lonelectorem)

    I always have been that goofy guy in social events who cannot socialize; for the very first reason, I don't know how to start conversations and keep them going, so usually, I just stand in the corner with the hope to return to my comfort place. My introversion is another aspect that holds me back from opening up to strangers. Considering these facts, I started this book with the hope that maybe, or, just maybe I can learn something I am terribly bad yet and Improve that part. Honestly, I am skept I always have been that goofy guy in social events who cannot socialize; for the very first reason, I don't know how to start conversations and keep them going, so usually, I just stand in the corner with the hope to return to my comfort place. My introversion is another aspect that holds me back from opening up to strangers. Considering these facts, I started this book with the hope that maybe, or, just maybe I can learn something I am terribly bad yet and Improve that part. Honestly, I am skeptical about everything that this buy 'tried' to teach me. I am going to keep in mind some of the effective learnings but I will know their impact whenever I will found myself in any social event. Just to make it clear, whatever I am saying isn't about the book but my reluctance and stubbornness to not give myself a chance to know people better, my failures to build quality social bonds, and keeping them alive! This book is extremely practical and effective and I am going to make some notes to keep them with me to use them in whatever social interaction I may have in the future. Even if kinda out of my comfort, I got to give myself chance to overcome it. I am feeling hopeful about it because when the author quoted “𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙖𝙗𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙠 𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙞𝙡𝙮 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙖𝙣𝙮𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙖 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙙 𝙨𝙠𝙞𝙡𝙡, 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙖 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙞𝙩.”, it made sense to me, and instead of blaming my personality for lack of my social and conversational skills, I can learn, implement, and practice some things from this book and see where things will go! Recommending to people who suck at small talks and want to learn some ways to be a good conversationalist.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael Reyes

    If you find yourself grasping at straws to keep the conversation going with somebody you just met or if you consider yourself to be a wallflower, you've come to the right place. Small talk is the Icebreaker that clears the way for more intimate conversation, laying the foundation for a stronger relationship. This book aims to teach you how to engage any individual in a meaningful conversation. It will also show you how to resuscitate a dying conversation and transition into new topics. It will sha If you find yourself grasping at straws to keep the conversation going with somebody you just met or if you consider yourself to be a wallflower, you've come to the right place. Small talk is the Icebreaker that clears the way for more intimate conversation, laying the foundation for a stronger relationship. This book aims to teach you how to engage any individual in a meaningful conversation. It will also show you how to resuscitate a dying conversation and transition into new topics. It will share techniques to make you feel more at ease at networking events, parties and receptions. You can then use small talk to develop business friendships and be able to step out of a conversation with grace. Debra Fine was once a shy engineer who kept mostly to herself and because of this, was passed up for a promotion to someone who was more peesonable. She later on opted to become a stay-at-home mom to take care of her 2 kids. Her husband filed for divorce and she found herself jobless with 2 mouths to feed. Plato said "Necessity is the mother of invention", and so she had to reinvent herself. So she had to learn the Art of Small Talk... And master it, she did. The book contains anecdotes taken from Debra's personal experience, comical illustrations and like so many self-help books follow the Pareto Principle of 80/20. Most of the important tips/reminders can be found in bullet points encased in boxes where you can photocopy, cut out and keep in your wallet/purse/what-have-you for quick reference if you forgot the lessons and need a quick refresher. I would recommend this book to those struggling with networking events or those having trouble keeping a conversation alive. Remember, there are people who are not born conversationalists... And this book will help them overcome this hurdle.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    1-7-17 I'm an introvert!! I admire people who are able to talk to anyone and keep a conversation going. This book is very helpful. I have learned that I'm actually not terrible at small talk, but I have plenty of room to improve. I've practiced my new skills on a few unsuspecting strangers, acquaintances and family members. I had the longest and most informative conversation I've ever had with my 12-year-old son who is not usually aware of the world around him, using my new skills. This may be a 1-7-17 I'm an introvert!! I admire people who are able to talk to anyone and keep a conversation going. This book is very helpful. I have learned that I'm actually not terrible at small talk, but I have plenty of room to improve. I've practiced my new skills on a few unsuspecting strangers, acquaintances and family members. I had the longest and most informative conversation I've ever had with my 12-year-old son who is not usually aware of the world around him, using my new skills. This may be a book to buy and underline and reference. Small talk is the verbal equivalent of that first domino: It starts a chain reaction with all kinds of implications for your life. p11

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    This is just a delightful little book! It's fun and easy to read, and includes lists of "icebreaker" questions and comments for many occasions. She emphasizes making others feel comfortable and being genuinely interested in people, which I like. This is just a delightful little book! It's fun and easy to read, and includes lists of "icebreaker" questions and comments for many occasions. She emphasizes making others feel comfortable and being genuinely interested in people, which I like.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Learning how to small talk is probably one of the most important skills that everyone overlooks. This is something that should be taught in schools but won't because their too worried about standardized testing all the time. If you were to recount the number of times you've been to a social event and found the other person to be quite rude in their social and conversation skills then you are not alone. Debra Fine explains in this little book of hers that learning how to small talk with others can Learning how to small talk is probably one of the most important skills that everyone overlooks. This is something that should be taught in schools but won't because their too worried about standardized testing all the time. If you were to recount the number of times you've been to a social event and found the other person to be quite rude in their social and conversation skills then you are not alone. Debra Fine explains in this little book of hers that learning how to small talk with others can open doors into other worlds that might never have been possible before because you took the time to listen and relate to what the other person was saying. These are not simple or easy skills to learn because if they were, everyone would be jumping at attending social functions every night. But how often do you find your nights filled with nothing to do at home? People who learn the skills in this book and take it to the next level realize the world of opportunities that are out there every night. Their nights become filled with event functions and networking groups that expand their inner social circle. There is something else that changes when you learn the fine art of small talk and that is, you bring in more job prospects into your life. If you look at the number of people who have mastered the skills taught in this book, they are the ones you meet at these social functions who show a genuine interest in what you have to say but not only that they make your stories and experiences something they can relate to that makes you want to talk with that person more. There is no secret in what they are doing to you, they have simply learned the art of active listening and relating. Small talk starts off with all the things your parents taught you as a kid that has done damage to your understanding of what it means to become a social person. Parents need to stop telling their kids to not talk to strangers because that is the first bad habit that kids pick up and take with them into adulthood. If you have been told not to talk to strangers and then one day you graduate from high school and then told to go talk to strangers, what happens? Confusion happens. You were never taught the skills of how to do that and now you are told you have to be amazing in interviews and social events? Kids naturally want to talk with anyone who will listen to them and if you learn to cultivate those skills instead of killing them, then your kid will grow up to be quite the people person that everyone wants to be connected to. The remaining part of the book goes into different ways of starting a simple conversation with various questions and comments you can memorize to help you get started. The book also covers different situations you will be required to talk in, weddings, company events, parties, singles events, and so on. Learning to speak with others shouldn't be hard, especially if you just take the time to listen to what other people have to say instead of worrying about what you plan to say next. If you want to get better at talking with people, you have to get over your fear of talking to strangers, so the next time you are on the bus, in an elevator, or at a public event, smile and say hi to anyone that looks at you. You will be surprised at how just acknowledging another person can transform that individual into someone that is just looking to be validated and wanting someone else to talk with. But always keep in mind that you want to meet new people as well and not take up others time, so mingle, talk, mingle and talk some more. You might be surprised at the new opportunities that open up in your life from just that simple act of acknowledging someone else's existence.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Critchfield

    A quick, worthwhile read. I learned some of these tips on my own subconsciously but never formally thought through techniques to improve my conversational skills. The delivery was a bit confusing at times, but the content was very helpful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Audra

    A great book with lots of tips to help you become more confident in social situations. The do and don't lists were a little overwhelming, but other than that this was very informative. A great book with lots of tips to help you become more confident in social situations. The do and don't lists were a little overwhelming, but other than that this was very informative.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Trình Võ

    A great book for those who want to become a skilled conversationalist. No matter how good you think you are at small talks, there are rooms for improvement. Although many good conversationalists may perceive those lines as ordinary and basic tips, they are eye-opening to me. The book includes handy cheat sheets with prepared conversational lines that can be applied right away. In addition, Debra does a wonderful job in describing psychological processes of those who fear public events and make m A great book for those who want to become a skilled conversationalist. No matter how good you think you are at small talks, there are rooms for improvement. Although many good conversationalists may perceive those lines as ordinary and basic tips, they are eye-opening to me. The book includes handy cheat sheets with prepared conversational lines that can be applied right away. In addition, Debra does a wonderful job in describing psychological processes of those who fear public events and make mistakes in having a small talk with other strangers. I know she is right, because I used to find myself in such situations *laugh shamelessly* On the other hand, I would have given this book 5 stars if the content were fully dedicated to networking in business environment. There is a whole chapter with tips specially written for dating events, and the least that I would expect from this kind of book is dating tips. Besides, the fact that Debra repeatedly refers to conversations with her second husband (more facts about her marriage) could give an impression that the book is written for housewives. I just prefer having more business examples.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jey Kalimuthu

    This small book has good info for anyone that wants to improve their conversation skills. I’ve been working on my conversation skills for years and I picked up this book to find any new nuggets that I might be missing. In particular I was looking for ways to exit a conversation that had gone stale. I was not disappointed. The first half of the book was information I already knew. The second half included sections to exit conversation, types of conversation killers (everyone can identify with at This small book has good info for anyone that wants to improve their conversation skills. I’ve been working on my conversation skills for years and I picked up this book to find any new nuggets that I might be missing. In particular I was looking for ways to exit a conversation that had gone stale. I was not disappointed. The first half of the book was information I already knew. The second half included sections to exit conversation, types of conversation killers (everyone can identify with at least one), and how to thrive in a singles scene. Without reading other reviews, I’m sure some might say that the advice here is common sense. However, not everyone would know this information, and sometimes books like these are a good reminder.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This book changed my entire perspective on small talk. It’s not a “necessary evil”, it’s what friendly, sincere people do to show their friendliness and sincerity. And it is an astonishing relief to be told that it can be LEARNED! I always imagined grace in social situations was a natural gift - some had it and the rest of us didn’t. How little did I know! My favorite quotes from the book: “We all fear rejection at some level. Just remind yourself that there are more dire consequences in life tha This book changed my entire perspective on small talk. It’s not a “necessary evil”, it’s what friendly, sincere people do to show their friendliness and sincerity. And it is an astonishing relief to be told that it can be LEARNED! I always imagined grace in social situations was a natural gift - some had it and the rest of us didn’t. How little did I know! My favorite quotes from the book: “We all fear rejection at some level. Just remind yourself that there are more dire consequences in life than a rejection by someone at [a social event]." “You’ll become skilled at small talk the same way you improve at other activities - through practice. It’s not difficult. High school geometry was much harder than this. All you need to do is practice.”

  17. 4 out of 5

    Prabhjyot

    PROS: I’m the “Poor Sport” and this is exactly what I was looking for! Other books on the subject have been too abstract for me. CONS: Chp 8 has “How to Win Friends and Influence People” vibes (in a bad way), Chp 9 uses metaphors extensively out of nowhere - disrupted the flow but still very enjoyable. Changed rating from 4 stars to 5 stars because I see visible improvements already.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Travis Land

    A great book on specifically how to converse in several situations. In whatever group size, 2, 3, 5, and whatever the setting, business, social, networking, Debra's got you covered on how to enter, keep conversation going, and gracefully exit all conversations! A great book on specifically how to converse in several situations. In whatever group size, 2, 3, 5, and whatever the setting, business, social, networking, Debra's got you covered on how to enter, keep conversation going, and gracefully exit all conversations!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    A number of the examples are a bit outdated now, but there were a lot of useful tips and reminders. I found this book really helpful overall, but I would only recommend it to people who actually feel like they struggle with making small talk and networking with strangers.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin Miller

    3.5 stars. Bottom line, talk more about others than yourself. When it’s your turn to talk about yourself, be honest and sincere.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aladar Bajusz

    Short and precise, an exelent refresher on small talk, why its important, and how can you get better at it

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ali Gibbs

    Short, good tips with specific do’s and don’ts, some of it pretty obvious but we can all use the reminders. I’m a chatterbox but I still enjoyed the advice and will definitely use it!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    This book felt old. I'm not sure if it's the examples used or the writing style but it hasn't aged well. I assumed it was from like 1990 and was surprised to learn it's from the 2000s. As for content, it was decent. There were a lot of sample icebreakers here and most of them felt forced or awkward. There was some good general advice, but it mostly seemed like common sense. It felt like this was aimed at someone who is unable to make literally any small talk. The one interesting bit was when the a This book felt old. I'm not sure if it's the examples used or the writing style but it hasn't aged well. I assumed it was from like 1990 and was surprised to learn it's from the 2000s. As for content, it was decent. There were a lot of sample icebreakers here and most of them felt forced or awkward. There was some good general advice, but it mostly seemed like common sense. It felt like this was aimed at someone who is unable to make literally any small talk. The one interesting bit was when the author broke out some types of conversationalists and explained some tips on how to handle/get out of conversations with them. For example, she labeled The Interrogator, The Braggart, The Interrupter, and The One-Upper. In the end though, I'd still say this book is mostly common sense. If you need icebreakers, you can probably find better ones with a quick Google search.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tham Nguyen

    Found this book at a coffee shop and I was very much interested in it that I bought myself a copy. I am not a very shy person that need to read this book to survive in networking events. However the book did remind me the things I perhaps haven't taken serious enough. The DO's and DON'Ts in this book are very helpful I must say. This book would be perfect if: 1/ It is more updated, it was published in 2005 and the time I read is 2018, the world has changed a lot and so does the way we communicate Found this book at a coffee shop and I was very much interested in it that I bought myself a copy. I am not a very shy person that need to read this book to survive in networking events. However the book did remind me the things I perhaps haven't taken serious enough. The DO's and DON'Ts in this book are very helpful I must say. This book would be perfect if: 1/ It is more updated, it was published in 2005 and the time I read is 2018, the world has changed a lot and so does the way we communicate in modern life 2/ You read it in English. The language itself is vary from country to country and so does the culture. The advice and examples are maybe very good in English but sometimes not very applicable in your language (in my case is Vietnamese) 3/ The writer mention more about other situations than business networking events

  25. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    There are people in this world who like leadership conferences & self help books & feel like motivational speakers really speak to them, then there is me. I know I suggested this book for my bookclub, go ahead and judge me. Like I said SOME people find these books useful and GREAT for them!!!! You can get the useful bits of info from this book by reading ch. 11 "50 questions to help fuel conversations." Deb, not Debbie, had good stories but the second half of the book repeated the first half and f There are people in this world who like leadership conferences & self help books & feel like motivational speakers really speak to them, then there is me. I know I suggested this book for my bookclub, go ahead and judge me. Like I said SOME people find these books useful and GREAT for them!!!! You can get the useful bits of info from this book by reading ch. 11 "50 questions to help fuel conversations." Deb, not Debbie, had good stories but the second half of the book repeated the first half and full disclosure i didnt even read the single chapter - so glad i didnt have to. Overall if you are willing to try really hard you can make yourself a better small talker. Or you could not work in sales, then decide who you really want to talk to and get comfortable in silence. I think that is what I really learned. When i need an idea for a genuinely awkward silence filler I have some now. But mostly I am ok with being quiet and talking to only people I actually like (or have potential to become people I actually like) and like me back. Life is short.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pvw

    Nice little booklet about everything that the title suggests. In essence, these are just the same basic ideas from How to Win Friends & Influence People applied to the specific context of social conversation at receptions. But Debra Fine makes a nice job of presenting them. I especially liked the chapter on 'Conversation criminals'. You know, the type of people that everybody hates having in their social circle because they ruin or monopolize conversations in one way or another. Funny because it Nice little booklet about everything that the title suggests. In essence, these are just the same basic ideas from How to Win Friends & Influence People applied to the specific context of social conversation at receptions. But Debra Fine makes a nice job of presenting them. I especially liked the chapter on 'Conversation criminals'. You know, the type of people that everybody hates having in their social circle because they ruin or monopolize conversations in one way or another. Funny because it is recognisable, sometimes in people you know, sometimes in yourself. In that latter case, you can always hope that Fine's humorous presentation will help you get over it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bảo Ngọc

    surefire icebreakers for getting a conversation going; • ways to exit a conversation with grace; and • the reasons why small talk can position you as a leader. Small talk is a skill that can be learned. It’s up to you to initiate a conversation with someone; in fact, it’s a mistake not to. Assume the burden of a conversation by learning people’s names and preparing icebreakers. Asking open-ended questions and digging deeper improves conversations. Use varied questions and environmental clues to keep co surefire icebreakers for getting a conversation going; • ways to exit a conversation with grace; and • the reasons why small talk can position you as a leader. Small talk is a skill that can be learned. It’s up to you to initiate a conversation with someone; in fact, it’s a mistake not to. Assume the burden of a conversation by learning people’s names and preparing icebreakers. Asking open-ended questions and digging deeper improves conversations. Use varied questions and environmental clues to keep conversations alive. Paying careful attention to body language and verbal cues will make you a better listener. Exiting a conversation gracefully and honestly can enhance the connection you’ve made. Use their name in conversation.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meera

    I give 3 stars for Debra Fine’s ‘Small Talk’. The book is basic and common sense knowledge on how to start a conversation/chat, building networking skills etc. The chapters are nicely categorized; writing simplistic, brief with good instances. ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’, was an interesting chapter and an eye - opener where conversationalists have been categorized. Reflective to see to which group one belongs and also caution to avoid being in the company of such conversationalists and to handle t I give 3 stars for Debra Fine’s ‘Small Talk’. The book is basic and common sense knowledge on how to start a conversation/chat, building networking skills etc. The chapters are nicely categorized; writing simplistic, brief with good instances. ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’, was an interesting chapter and an eye - opener where conversationalists have been categorized. Reflective to see to which group one belongs and also caution to avoid being in the company of such conversationalists and to handle them graciously. Though there is nothing out of the ordinary, some useful tips for sure.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Craigneggs

    Nice little read. I read this with my EFL students in mind, but there are some good ideas for all types of conversation learners. There are a lot examples and strategies for different occasions. Some sentences seem a little dated, but the content just needs switched for new technologies or current topics. I plan on adapting some of these ideas for my students, but hopefully they can use the strategies in English and their native language as well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Watkins

    Listened to the Audible audio book version while retouching. Great approximately 3 hour audiobook about starting conversations, keeping them going, and gracefully ending them. The author also goes into detail about proper body language while conversing, things that can kill conversations, and examples of proper and improper phrases to use at each point in the conversation. Chapter 11 is a great summary of the books main tips. Highly recommend.

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