The Fine Art of Small Talk

The Fine Art of Small Talk

How to Start A Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills, and Leave A Positive Impression

Book - 2005
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Nationally recognized communication expert Debra Fine reveals the techniques and strategies anyone can use to make small talk--in any situation. Do you spend an abnormal amount of time hiding out in the bathroom or hanging out at the buffet table at social gatherings? Does the thought of striking up a conversation with a stranger make your stomach do flip-flops? Do you sit nervously through job interviews waiting for the other person to speak? Are you a "Nervous Ned or Nellie" when it comes to networking? Then it's time you mastered The Fine Art of Small Talk.

With practical advice and conversation "cheat sheets," The Fine Art of Small Talk will help you learn to feel more comfortable in any type of social situation, from lunch with the boss to an association event to a cocktail party where you don't know a soul.
Publisher: New York : Hyperion, [2005]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2005
ISBN: 9781401302269
Branch Call Number: 302.346 F4936F 2005
Characteristics: xviii, 202 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm


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Dec 06, 2017

You can get some ideas from a couple chapters, but there is nothing about this book that stands out. I would recommend Conversationally Speaking by Alan Garner as a much better alternative for anyone looking to improve their speaking skills.

Apr 02, 2017

I wanted to like this book. I really did. But I didn't like this book. As other reviewers have pointed out, there's nothing new or original or surprising in this book. Example: what is the first rule to approach new people and start a conversation? Answer: You have got to screw up your courage and actually approach them. Duh.

But that's not the value of the book. The value of the book is that if you've brought it home with you, it can provide the practical support and reminder to actually do it. As well as a few opening lines, not all of which are complete garbage. And that is worth the price alone. Or free, if you got it from the library, as I did.

The writing style is a little inflated - she takes far too many words to convey thin ideas. It's like listening to your sister on the phone to her girlfriend for 3 hours. Some of her "common sense" ideas are in direct conflict with each other. Example: page 63 advises this opening line "I thought I heard an accent. What part of the country/world are you from?". But page 163 urges the direct opposite, "Don't act like an FBI agent. Questions like "where are you from?" lead to dead-end conversations. O-kaaay, then.

Mar 20, 2016

Liked how she gave lots of examples but many of them seemed unrealistic to use in a real conversation. Nonetheless I picked up some good tips. Putting them into practice will be the hard part.

Jun 05, 2013

The tips in this book are not particularly novel -- or even good, really. Indeed, most of the information will seem like common-sense (something the author is quick to point out herself)... yet it is precisely the common-sense stuff that we tend to overlook. A concrete example: how often have you been walking along with a friend when, along the way, you happen to bump into an acquaintance of hers that you have never met? Often, they will carry on for a good minute or two as if you were not present at all before proper introductions are eventually made; those one to two minutes can be terribly awkward for the outside party (and the eventual introduction feels like an afterthought: "oh yeah... this is..."). I have been on all three ends of this situation and thankfully have acquired the good "common-sense" to handle it appropriately in the moment. Seems like common-sense to immediately introduce two people who don't know each other, yet this familiar scene is played out constantly. One more example: you're sitting on the metro with a friend of several years and you have nothing "interesting" to talk about. One might retort, "well we're so comfortable with each other we don't NEED to talk". In my opinion, that's a total cop-out and, anyway, "comfortable" is not necessarily good. Besides, no one "needs" to talk, really, but shouldn't we? In a situation like this, most people (myself included) will use their mobile as a crutch, either devoting attention completely to it or using it as a temporary catalyst ("hey look what norah posted!" haha, chuckle-chuckle, silence). In theory, two people completely comfortable with each other would have LOADS to talk about since they can apparently talk about anything at all. In any case, "small talk" is undeniably overlooked, taken-for-granted, or just plain dismissed as a social skill ("pfft--I hate small talk!") and this book is a fine first step toward acknowledging the fact.


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Mar 20, 2016

Ladieder thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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