- Thoughts for inspired living

January 13, 2009

Small Talk

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:46 pm

It seems as though it’s the currency of connection, but in the long haul, it’s Monopoly money – Small talk.

It’s a great way to warm up a conversation but many people never pivot off it and it becomes mindless chatter that fills the air.

I’m in “Smalltalkville” today. I’m traveling on airplanes on my way to conduct seminars in Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama. I will interact with many travelers today, most of whom will go no further than thimble deep.

Many small talkers are just that – talkers. They have no interest in you, they just want to regurgitate what’s running around in their mind in hopes that saying it again will make it go away. They will go non-stop without breathing for multiple sentences at a time. It’s assaulting.

Small talkers hardly ever make a connection and are completely forgettable the minute you leave their sphere.

Small talkers are the hardest people to reach because there is no space in their mind for something new to enter. They are jam packed with facts and figures and numbing blather that perpetually replenishes itself.

I am fortunate to know about pattern interrupts. That’s a way to interrupt people on many levels – visually, auditorily, and kinesthetically – so that there’s momentary breathing room to insert something into the conversation to take them a bit deeper. Reminds me of a story from a half hour ago . . .

I took my seat on the plane and the guy next to me says he and the guy next to him were hoping that I would be a woman. I told him we were going to be part of the all boys club on this flight.

About 10 minutes later, after some non-stop, one-way chatter to the guy next to him, the expletives became more frequent. I noticed the woman in the seat in front of us and the woman across the aisle were shifting in their seat with each four letter utterance that came out. I turned to him and interrupted, “Let’s pretend I was a woman, would you be using the same words you are now?” He said, “No” and that was the last we heard of him until landing in Charlotte. He did manage to smile and wave at babies across the aisle. I also noticed a wry smile from the woman in front of us when I made the comment.

By all means, reach out and interact. It’s an acknowledgement of the other’s presence and it can be quite pleasant, informative, entertaining and a great way to connect. I guess the reminder is to notice there’s another person in the conversation with you, and that there are others within earshot around you. It’s respectful, it enriches you both, and the best news is you don’t have to reach out and choke them.

All the best,


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