Small Talk Gets a Bum Rap

Brooklyn, NY – “Once again, the role of small talk is getting minimized—this time as a result of the recently published study on conversations and happiness.” says communications expert, Don Gabor, author of How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends.

“I agree with the University of Arizona researchers who performed the study that ‘the happy life is social and conversationally deep rather than solitary and superficial.’ But, contrary to the conclusions that media have taken from the study—that small talk leaves people unhappy—I maintain that small talk is an important prerequisite for those substantive conversations.”
After teaching and writing on the subject of small talk and conversation for nearly 30 years, Gabor extols the virtues of small talk as the following:
1.  Small talk, is a ritual that is part of our initial interpersonal contact during which we get a sense of who the person is and if we have any potential for a deeper connection.
2.  Small talk is the medium in which we directly and indirectly exchange considerable personal and professional information, opinions, attitudes and interests that allow people to identify a desire and potential for substantive conversations based on common interests, attitudes and goals.
3.  Small talk allows people to build rapport and a sense of trust so when their conversations do expand to more substantive areas, the speakers feel more comfortable revealing their true feelings and opinions.
Small talk helps you determine:
  • Your gut feelings about a person
  • Whether you like and can trust each other
  • If it is possible to initiate a business, social or personal relationship
Ask Don
  • How can you make your small talk count for something big?
  • How does small talk allow us to create a realistic picture of who we are?
  • How can you use small talk reveal and uncover common interests?
  • In what ways does small talk influence first impressions?
  • How can you go from small talk to substantive conversations?
Don Gabor is an author and communications trainer who teaches professionals from all industries how to network more efficiently and converse at home, work and everywhere in between. His books have been covered by “60 Minutes with Andy Rooney,” “Good Day New York” and Entrepreneur magazine, to name a few. The New Yorker called Don, “A gifted conversationalist.”
For a review copy of his new book, TURN SMALL TALK INTO BIG DEALS: Using 4 Key Conversation Styles To Customize Your Networking Approach, Build Relationships and Win More Clients (McGraw-Hill Professional 2009) and to book an interview with Don, please contact him at 718-768-0824, via email at or visit his website,
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