It is not what you know, it’s who you know. Take these words from the author of one of the world’s greatest bestsellers of all time, Dale Carnegie. He became famous for his How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936. Many goals can be attained by communicating with other people and learning just how to talk to people can lead you to great success.

The art of talking is as much about listening as speaking out loud. You cannot know a person until you talk with them and get to know them at a deeper level. Small talk also serves as a portal to let others see you as well. In the world of entrepreneurship, you must surround yourself with the right people who can help you grow and expand your horizons. When you have the right people within your grasp, you have a connection that will lead you closer to success.

Here are three top tips that can help your small talk lead to great success.

Be Spontaneous

It can be hard to start a conversation with a stranger. But it’s often even harder to keep the ball rolling. Listen to whomever you are talking to and compliment what they say. The conversation will likely continue in an amiable way. Being interested in whatever the person is talking about — regardless of whether or not you really are — will get you a long way towards gearing the conversation the way you want it to. Also, try never to settle one on one-line answers like a “yes” or a “no”. This will definitely lead you to trouble as the other person might feel that you are either uninterested or not worth the time to talk to. Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Be interested in them – not just you!

Have a story or two ready.

It might sound too rehearsed but having something to share with someone that you already thought of before will help you have successful small talks. Having a number of things to share will also give you a chance to choose as to which might be more of a “common ground” story with the person you’re talking to. If you are nervous about meeting up with a certain person, having a story ready might help calm your nerves. Try and gear the story you pick to the topic at hand, such as saying something like, “You know, that reminds me of the time that….” After all, communication is all about sharing something in common. And when you have that common thing that you can talk about, then it wouldn’t be hard for you to have a small talk. You will be able to establish a closer bond and later on a connection that you can use for your success. Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Have a clear objective.

Seriously, why are you talking to this person? Why do you want to talk with them at all? Do they have something you need for your business? Do they know people that are influential and can help you accomplish something? What is your objective? Perhaps you want to break the ice with someone and be friends with them. But what is your CLEAR objective? Make it clear through your chat that this relationship can somehow be beneficial for both of you. Having a clear objective will not only do away with gray areas of small talk but will also make the small talk a foundation for future success for an endeavor. Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Small talks do not need to be a frantic approach to save yourself in a blind spot or just because you don’t have a choice. Instead, it can be a means for you to be recognized and to open up new choices for you to achieve success. Don’t underestimate the value of small talks. Don’t choose between silence and success.

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