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Let’s face it: small talk can be tortuous, but it’s also unavoidable in the college setting. Rather than stumbling and struggling your way through conversations this semester, Her Campus has a few tricks to improve your small talking skills.


One of the best ways to push through an awkward conversation is to fake confidence. When you’re more at ease, the conversation will flow a lot more naturally. A great way to do this is by imagining that the other person is simply an old friend. It can feel odd at first, but it’s a trick I use all the time, and it really does work!

Conversation Starters

Don’t be afraid to whip out the classic get-to-know you type questions that we’re all familiar with: major, year, and hometown. And while they may seem cliché or overused, there’s a reason that they’re used at the beginning of every class; they are a quick way to find common ground and fill up awkward silences.

Keep Asking Questions

Small talk has two best friends: awkward pauses and conversation lulls. And as much as we love these uncomfortable moments (catching my sarcasm?), avoiding these pauses can make a conversation go by a lot more smoothly. It can be hard to know what to say, but a good rule of thumb is just to keep asking questions. People love to talk about themselves, and so if you find yourself at a loss at what to say, just ask for details about something they’ve said. It will keep the conversation rolling and give you time to find another topic to discuss.

Awkward for everyone

Finally, just remember that small talk is awkward for almost everyone, and you’re certainly not alone in it. So don’t panic if things feel weird, and don’t shy away from discomfort: embrace it. Once you get passed the awkwardness, it will get a lot easier, and it will definitely be worth it.

Junior at St. Catherine University, majoring in psychology.
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