Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Would-be social butterflies will get encouragement but little inspiration from this not quite scintillating self-help primer. Fine, a conversation consultant, insists that small talk is the necessary overture to deeper communication, the key to generating business leads and dates and a pathway to a richer life in which strangers are magically transformed into acquaintances. She covers such cocktail-party conundrums as how to spot 'approachable' interlocutors, how to make introductions, how to butt into an intriguing conversation, resuscitate a flagging one and bail out of a boring one, and how to resist one-uppers, know-it-alls, motormouths and other abusers of talk. Given the ingrained human reluctance to talk to strangers, will, not technique, is the real issue. Much of the book is taken up with motivational pep-talks to get readers to initiate contact (one agonizing exercise suggests 'walk through the mall and just say hello to ten people as you pass them'); in a world where everyone feels at a loss for words, Fine argues, saying virtually anything makes one a 'hero.' Unfortunately, it doesn't necessarily make one a great conversationalist. The heart of Fine's methodology consists of long lists of icebreakers and inviting questions that she instructs readers to memorize and regurgitate as needed to jump-start and sustain conversations, and these read like rather bad small-talk-dull ('How has the internet affected your life?'), stilted ('Do you have a personal motto or creed?') and awkward ('Describe an embarrassing moment you've had.'). Tongue-tied readers can benefit from her pointers and exhortation, but one hopes they will think a little harder before they speak." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
With practical advice and conversation "cheat sheets," Fine reveals techniques and strategies to help readers feel more comfortable in any type of social situation.
About the Author
Former engineer Debra Fine was a wallflower if there ever was one. But when she found herself a single mom and divorcée at 40, who had watched her more affable colleague get promoted around her, she decided she needed to step up her conversational skills. And in doing so developed a system she now teaches to countless others. Debra has become a nationally recognized expert on communication skills, presenting keynotes, training sessions and workshops for numerous corporations and organizations along with hundreds of insurance, real estate, legal, financial, and health care associations.