Most of the time, small-talk conversation is required for networking in the corporate world. It requires a lot of practice, but having couple of tips to get started will speed you up with the progress. Ben Stein at Yahoo! Finance did a nice piece on how to have a business conversation:
- Begin by knowing that the people you’re talking to mostly want to talk about themselves.
- Establish common ground.
- Say kind, generous things to your conversation partner.
- Keep your comments brief.
- Get back on common ground again as soon as you can.
- Don’t brag unless you do it in a funny way.
- Unless you’re specifically asked about it, don’t talk about religion at all.
- The same goes for politics.
- If you talk about current issues, do so in a genial, friendly way.
- Make whatever points you need to make in a hurry, and then leave.
Having a common ground can create a very good ground for building a friendly relationship and lead to many different topics to talk about. I recommend to begin with asking them many question on their background, and find the something in common.
How to Have a Business Conversation – [Yahoo! Finance]