Focused Conversation vs. Small Talk

I promised to explain the answers to the “How Well Do You Know Introverts” Quiz. Here is #1.

“Introverts prefer focused conversation to small talk.”

A focused conversation is not the same as the chit chat that can drive you up the wall and out the door. Instead, these are dialogues with a specific point in which you combine listening and purposeful talking. Focused conversation helps you to truly share your ideas with others and learn about what they believe and feel.

Small talk is usually about more superficial topics and, while it may be a way to segway to more meaningful conversation, introverts don’t see the point. Small talk also takes place in bursts with several people (think cocktail parties). The kind of conversations introverts prefer are  one-on-one or in small groups.

Doug Conant, the former CEO of Campbell Soup Company said that “the action is in the interaction.” I agree. It is in these meaningful back and forths that we build relationships and influence others.

2 thoughts on “Focused Conversation vs. Small Talk

  1. Wally Bock

    Common advice to new managers is that should “make smalltalk to set a team member at ease” when it’s time for a conversation about performance. That’s fine for extroverts, but exactly wrong for introverts. Small talk doesn’t set them at ease. It increases discomfort.

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