Small talk is an important part of any social or business environment. While some people are naturals at it, others may need a little help.

But like many skills, small talk gets better with practice. Rather than shying away from situations that involve small talk, try looking at them as opportunities for growth.

1. Ask Questions

Small talk is a social and professional skill that can help you build relationships with new people. It also provides you with a chance to learn about someone and their interests.

Often, it can feel like small talk can be awkward or unnecessary, but it’s important to remember that it can be used as a foundation for deeper conversations.

You can master the art of small talk by practicing and trying different conversation starters before you meet new people. It can also help to know what topics or open-ended questions are appropriate for your social environment.

Having good small talk is essential for establishing relationships, no matter the situation. Whether you’re at a networking event or just meeting co-workers, learning how to speak the small talk language can help you establish meaningful connections that last long after the event is over.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”

When you say “no” in a clear, authoritative, and polite way, it’s easier to make others understand why you have your priorities in place. It also makes it easier to keep your relationships healthy and your integrity intact.

When your priorities clash, it can be difficult to decide whether something is worth saying yes to. But you can learn to make this decision by assessing what you value most and what aligns with your character and values.

It’s also important to consider what your body feels like when you’re asking for too much. If your body is tense, fatigued, or scratchy, it might be time to say no.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Interrupt

Small talk can be a powerful and underestimated tool for relationship building.

It can help you seem friendlier, easily get to know someone new and eliminate awkward silences. And it’s a skill that many employers consider as part of their employee’s soft skills.

When you’re not sure how to begin a conversation, try asking questions about things that might interest the other person. Questions like “What do you like to do in your spare time?” or “Where did you come from?” can help break the ice and open the door for discussion.

You might be surprised how often a simple question can lead to a meaningful exchange. The more you practice this skill, the better you’ll become at it.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to End the Conversation

Small talk is a crucial part of establishing a personal connection and relationship. It’s the key to making people feel comfortable and open up to meaningful conversations.

During your small talk, you should be building a bond with the other person and showing them that you care about them. This can help them become a more important part of your life and lead to future conversations and relationships.

As the conversation continues, you can ask them questions based on their knowledge and interest. This can also lead to interesting discussions.

If your conversation is getting a bit long or boring, it’s time to end it. You can do this by referencing something you discussed during the conversation or by asking them about their day.

While it’s not easy to end a conversation without being afraid, this can be done in a graceful manner. By using nonverbal cues like nodding, maintaining eye contact and leaning in to communicate, you can avoid making the other person feel uncomfortable.