11 Small Talk Tips That Will Make You Less Awkward

Forget those awkward introductions: These tips will help you instantly connect with anyone.

Start with a handshake


A proper handshake conveys trust, respect, and equality. Make eye contact, smile, and shake from the elbow (shaking from the wrist comes across as limp). Touching hands signals our brains to release oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that promotes bonding and friendship. Don’t miss these secrets your body language reveals about you.

First, look for singletons


People standing by themselves are the best option to approach, followed by groups of people who’ve left their circle open and welcoming. Two people standing shoulder-to-shoulder and groups of people that are closed off in a tight circle are likely not open to newcomers. Here are other tips for how to join a conversation at a party without looking awkward.

Practice on Your Server


If what you’re most nervous about is being ignored, test the waters by chatting up a waiter, waitress, barista, or bartender, Kevin Kleitches told Huffington Post. Your server’s job is to make you feel paid attention to and happy, so there’s a slim chance they’ll snub you. For more practice, follow these 8 tricks to improve your speech and sound more articulate!

Offer your name, and repeat theirs


“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language,” Dale Carnegie wrote in his 1937 classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. The advice still rings true. Start a conversation with a strong and confident introduction, like “Hi, my name is Jane. What’s yours?” When the person responds, repeat their name back: “Nice to meet you, John.” Check to see if you have one of these speaking habits that science says are annoying.

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