12 October 2012

Small Talk: Big Deal

Just arrived back home from a hectic week away, an opportunity to practice the "small talk" skills that I personally find so tricky. As I mentioned in a previous post, these usually consist of a series of practised and well-rehearsed lines, open questions that can start off a conversation, to 'break the ice' and thus give me an introduction when I was working on the exhibition stand for my work. I used the week as an opportunity to work on my technique. Or lack thereof...

The old lines? Forget it. Not interested. And neither was I, to be honest...

I tried smiling. Some smiled back and simply kept right on walking by. Some ignored me completely, not even acknowledging my existence! (sigh)

I tried catching their eye. This was slightly more effective, at least a tentative link had been established! I had a couple of pretty good conversations from a glance in the right direction, a bond with the individual straight away. So much for 'small talk'.

The best and most productive conversations? Well, they came directly out of those encounters with folk who seemed genuinely interested in talking back to you. These were folk who really wanted a conversation; they were keen on communicating with you, happy to meet you half-way and keen to react to the information that I wanted to impart to them. Fertile ground.

Hmmm ... interesting. I've also been thinking a lot about evangelism this week, following a conversation on Monday at church about telling others about Christ. I couldn't help but link up this subject to my own clumsy attempts to talk to others. Jesus' words in the Parable Of The Sower also keep coming back to me tonight:

Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV)
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

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