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Sep 12

Using Small Talk

Posted by: Steve Marr

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Frequently I am in large gatherings.  My tendency is to find a corner in the room with my plate of appetizers and munch away. However, this tactic doesn’t help me get to know anyone.  So I start over with a prayer asking the Lord if there is anyone in the room I need to connect with. I ask for an open door to share the gospel, to encourage, or otherwise minister in some way. I pray this whether I’m in a mostly Christian gathering or secular.  Often the Lord steers me to a specific person. Other times I don’t feel any guidance from Lord.


There are always others in the room feeling the same way I am. I simply find someone who is standing awkwardly by themselves, introduce myself, and open a conversation. I start by asking them questions about themselves. Generally these are business gatherings, and most people like talking about their business. This can usually morph into a discussion about family or even church. The simple point to remember is that most people will talk about themselves by responding to simple questions.

In most cases, the person will begin to ask questions about you. This gives you an opportunity to have a back-and-forth conversation. If they don’t, it tends to demonstrate that they’re pretty inward focused. I file this away for future reference.

Depending on the time available, I can connect with three to five the people in such a gathering. This allows me to collect business cards that may be useful for future follow-up. By using this tactic, I avoid feeling that I’m just wandering around, accomplishing nothing except feeling uncomfortable.

I also use this tactic in groups where I know quite a few people.  When I see a new face, I look at this as an opportunity to help them enter the group and become comfortable. Christians have the responsibility to make others feel welcome. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2, ESV) When we reach out to strangers in these groups, we not only help our own business development but fulfill the Lord’s desire to embrace strangers.

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