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Small Talk Scorecard

By Loren Ekroth

Agree or Disagree with these statements:

A D   1. I regularly check to see that a person is available to talk before starting a conversation. I do not break into an ongoing conversation.
A D   2. When meeting strangers, I offer a brief self-introduction, such as "Hi, I'm Alice Green, the manager of the Credit Union."
A D   3. I am genuinely curious about persons I meet and I ask questions about them like "What brings you to this meeting?"
A D   4. I have a relaxed and open posture when I approach others to talk.
A D   5. I am good at remembering names and use a person's name several times during a conversation.
A D   6. I am brief in my remarks and don't ramble on. I get to the point.
A D   7. I have something good to contribute to most small talk conversations and I am up-to-date with useful information to share.
A D   8. I adjust my voice to make listening easy. I am neither too loud nor too soft, and my voice is well modulated.
A D   9. I am a supportive listener and pay close attention without interrupting.
A D   10. I avoid highly-charged topics and arguments. Instead, I look for common interests.
A D   11. I am good at taking turns and share the time for talking. After I have talked for a while, I offer an opportunity for the other person to talk.
A D   12. I improvise and offer detours into other surprising topics beyond the usual ones of work, weather, business, and sports. I don't stay in usual ruts.
A D   13. I am a good story-teller and can relate experiences and anecdotes with color and flare so that people enjoy what I say.
A D   14. I don't take the attention away from the other person with "Me, too" statements such as "You went to Madrid? Me, too, just two years ago . . ."
A D   15. I know how to tactfully and gracefully exit a conversation when I want to leave it - even when the other person may want to continue.




Total Scoring:
13-15 = You are excellent at small talk
10-12 = You have a pretty good skill level
7-9 = You have average skill, can easily improve
0-6 = You are probably awkward at small talk, need improvement

See "Small Talk Success Tips Booklet: 125 specific tips you can use right now to master small talk by Dr. Loren Ekroth