Parties, receptions, meetings, standing in line, elevators, it happens everywhere where strangers are forced to spend a couple of minutes or more together.
I really don’t care to talk about the weather, the Jays, politics or other meaningless topics with total strangers. I will go out of my way to avoid it. People likely find me aloof or distant or other less flattering adjectives.
The definition of SMALL TALK is: polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged on social occasions.
The purpose of SMALL TALK is: In spite of seeming to have little useful purpose, small talk is a bonding ritual and a strategy for quickly building trust
Some people are good at it; it comes natural to them and they might even enjoy it. Marilyn, my wife, can talk to anyone, anywhere about anything. And as a result, she learns things about people that are interesting, useful and most people like her and easily connect with her.
So, what does this have to do with BNI? Actually quite a lot. The first time I came to this chapter I didn’t know any of you. Walking in to a room full of strangers is never easy, but I was able to turn on the SMALL TALK and after the initial awkwardness, the process of bonding started and over time I have come to know, like and most importantly trust all of you.
And now, every Wednesday morning, I walk in to a room full of people I know and trust. And even though there still might be some meaningless SMALL TALK, it quickly changes into exchanging information about our business and potential referrals and the bonding and building of trust continues.
I consider myself a good communicator. Getting together with friends or family over a meal or a drink, I have absolutely no problem talking about anything, including the weather, the Jays, politics or other meaningless topics. In meetings, even with strangers, I am comfortable, I can discuss anything and my Dutch nature allows me to be direct and come straight to the point.
So why should I get over my dislike of SMALL TALK? Because in the case of BNI, it has been very beneficial to me and it has helped me turn my business around. I have also been able to help others expand their business and I have gained some good friends and colleagues in the process.
So, to those of you, who like me also hate SMALL TALK, I encourage you to spend more time talking about the weather, the Jays, politics or other meaningless topics, because it will help you grow your business.