RMIT Vietnam NewsSmall talk grows big relationships

Small talk grows big relationships

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 17:46

RMIT Vietnam students have an edge on how to feel confident in social situations thanks to a recent workshop run by the University’s Career Centre. 

How to feel confident in social situations is a module through RMIT Vietnam’s Personal Edge program, a fourteen-module series aimed at helping students develop a wide range of personal and employability skills to enhance their university experience and future career.

At the workshop in April, Career Programs Coordinator Susmita Das and Lecturer Matthew McDonald said talking is the best way for people to reduce their fear and anxiety when in a social situation where they don’t know anyone.  

“Getting into a panic about attending an occasion surrounded by strangers is totally understandable,” Ms Das said.

“Talking to others will help you feel more confident and at ease.”

Mr McDonald added how a common concern many people have is not knowing how to start a conversation with strangers.

“But it can be overcome by approaching people you want to talk to by starting a small introductory conversation,” he said.

“Small talk establishes a big relationship.”

To avoid an awkward conversation, Ms Das said students should master three key steps:

  • Observing: “Try to find something you and that person have in common. It could be the first time both of you joined this club, or a class you both studied before.”
  • Revealing: “Avoid staying silent and listening only to other people. Share your positive thoughts and feelings with them, which will help nurture the conversation.”
  • Encouraging: “Besides sharing, don’t forget to encourage others to share their thoughts by asking open questions. Two-way communication gives people the sense of being respected and heard, which will enhance their enthusiasm for the conversation.”

Mr McDonald told the students attending the workshop that along with approaching others appropriately, they need to present themselves as approachable people.

“Breaking the ice with new people with a smile and a proper handshake can steady nerves,” Mr McDonald said.

“You should have good eye contact and nod your head to show interest in what the other person is saying.

“To reduce the reserve during the conversation, you should have an open posture, indicating friendliness, openness and willingness,” he said.