The Beauty of Small Talk
Small talk is defined as “the informal polite conversation that often focuses on unimportant or trivial topics.” As a Maternal Health Care Coordinator, I am either talking with mothers, families, or community partners and oftentimes I’m making the initial contact. Having a conversation with a new person can feel pointless but the first conversations are the most important ones. Throughout my service term, I realized that small talk has its benefits not only for service but in life. It might seem trivial but it sets the stage up for bigger conversations.
At my first solo home visit with a young mother, I was nervous. What if there’s an awkward silence? What if I run out of topics? Am I qualified for this? But as I introduced myself and I explained how the program works, we easily fell into a conversation. Throughout the visit, the mother would sprinkle in worries about being a first-time mom or how she was going to juggle school and/or work with a newborn. At the end of the home visit, we came up with a plan of setting a schedule now so that when the baby is born, the mom is already in the habit of dedicating time between school and her personal life. Being an AmeriCorps member involves a lot of small talk and retaining information about new clients or clients you see on a regular basis. By maintaining that connection, people will trust you to come to you with their concerns.
As I move on in my life, I’ll be sure to keep small talk in the forefront of my mind and to be brave in initiating that first conversation. As humans, we thrive on building a deeper connection with others. So, I challenge you to go out and start a conversation at the grocery store, waiting in lines, or at the gas station, you’ll never know what you’ll find out!