Small Talk Ideas: Washington D.C. Politics | Big Sports News

Let’s Small Talk About: Washington D.C. Politics | Big Sports News
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Thursday proved that some of the best small talk material comes from the daily news. This was a HUGE news day. The Supreme Court ruled on Obama Care, Congress votes the Attorney General in contempt… it’s NBA draft day… and Rafael Nadal lost in the 2nd round of Wimbledon. This just in — here’s today’s Small Talk Daily’s newsworthy content…

Conversation Starters:  Washington D.C.
Big day in Washington D.C., which can make for some very spirited conversation. Of course controversy and small talk are not always best friends. It’s often best to small talk with topics that don’t stir up anger and emotion, especially if you don’t know where the other person stands on a subject. Yet you can still use the topic to talk in general terms, or to spin off in other directions.

  • “So, quite a big day in Washington. What caught your attention?”
  • “Are there any politicians that you trust?”
  • “What did you think about the Supreme Court’s ruling?”

And here’s some Supreme Court Trivia:

  • George Washington appointed the most Supreme Court justices (11). Only Franklin D. Roosevelt came close, with 9 appointments.
  • William H. Taft was the only president to also serve as a Supreme Court justice.
  • Jimmy Carter is the only president to serve a full term without nominating a Supreme Court justice.
  • Only two Supreme Court Justices have been featured on U.S. currency: Salmon P. Chase on the $10,000 bill and John Marshall on the $500 bill. Marshall was replaced on the $500 bill by William McKinley before all such large currency bills were discontinued in 1969.

Current Events:  Sports
For serious basketball fans, NBA draft day is big news because they want to see who their team is getting to help them in the future. But to really know the names of the draftees, you have to be a serious fan. In tennis, almost everyone has heard of Rafael Nadal. The classic Wimbledon tournament is happening right now near London, and Nadal lost in the 2nd round, a very surprising result.

  • “Are you following the NBA draft?”
  • “How do you think (your team) did in the NBA draft?”
  • “Are you watching the Wimbledon coverage?”
  • “Did you see where Nadal lost in the 2nd round?”

And a little Wimbledon tennis trivia…

  • Wimbledon is the only major tennis tournament still played on grass. Both the Australian Open and US Open were once played on grass.
  • There are more than 200 ball boys and ball girls used to collect tennis balls during Wimbledon. To become a ball boy or ball girl, you are required to train eight hours a week for four months before the start of the tournament.
  • The longest tennis match in history was played between between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon on June 22-24, 2010. The first-round match took 11 hours and 5 minutes over three days, lasting so long it was suspended because of darkness two nights in a row. The match was won by Isner.

Joke of the Day:

From David Letterman on the NBA Draft…
“The Knicks will take the best athlete available. That’s the Knicks’ position on this. We will take the best athlete available. And so will Kim Kardashian.”

Have a good talk!

–The Small Talk Daily Team

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10 Tips to Small Talk Like a Pro

Small talk has life-changing consequences. If you know how to small talk you can make friends, network for business success, and successfully date and build relationships. However for many of us, we feel inadequate and unprepared to create conversation out of nothing with someone you may have never met before. That’s where the following 10 tips will help you master the art of making small talk.

  1. Prepare – Before you head out to that party or interview, arm yourself with some small talk ammunition. What’s happening in the news? What’s interesting about the location where you’re meeting? What questions could you ask today to get the conversation started? What interesting or unique event happened to you recently that would make a good story in a conversation?
  2. Weather – Talking about the weather is always the old standby when you can’t think of anything else to say. “Are you enjoying the weather?”… “Think the rain will stop?”… “When do you think we’ll see the first snow?”  Weather changes every day and we all have opinions about it, so you can never go wrong using weather as a small talk subject.
  3. Act – You may feel like you’re the odd person out and you really don’t want to talk to all the strangers in this room, but these people don’t know what’s going on in your head.  Become an actor. Imagine that you’re the coolest guy in the room and act like it. You will present a lot more personality and have fun doing it.  Choose your persona and try acting the part.
  4. Mental – Small talk is 5% mouth and 95% brain. Put your mental fears, doubts and insecurities in the closet, and choose to be a small talker. The reality is that most people don’t like making small talk, so when you step out and become a conversation starter, others will appreciate it and be drawn to you.
  5. Compliment – A well-placed compliment is always welcome.  Find something positive to say to the person you’re small talking with.  ”I really like your necklace.”  ”Your eyes are truly sparkling in this light.” “You have a very good interior decorating sense.”
  6. Questions – The easiest way to start a conversation is to ask a question. “Have you worked here long?” “How do you know our host?” “Are you following football this season?”  A natural question that fits the moment is a great way to break the ice.
  7. Listen – The most neglected part of a small talk conversation is often active listening. We’re so busy trying to think up what we can say next that we neglect to actually stop and listen to the other person. If you listen closely, you will actually hear items that will naturally lead to your next question, statement or topic.
  8. Practice – Have realistic expectations. You may not be a great small talker today, but with practice it will get easier and easier. As they say, practice makes perfect!
  9. Humor – Don’t be so stressed and uptight, as that makes a stressed and uptight conversation. Have a sense of humor. Laugh at yourself. Tell a joke. At some point you’ll look back and laugh at even your worst experiences.
  10. Keep Trying – Let’s face it, not every small talk experience will be an amazing success.  Sometimes you’ll speak with someone who is bad at carrying a conversation. Other times you’ll start talking with someone who has another agenda – they want to talk with someone else on the other side of the room, or they had a bad day at the office.  But small talking is much like riding a horse – when you get thrown off, stand back up, dust yourself off, and climb on the horse again!

 

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How to Small Talk about: Weather | Doctor Dog

Let’s Small Talk About:  Weather | Doctor Dog


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Big plans this weekend?  It’s raining in Portland, so it’s inside projects for me. And here’s today’s partly cloudy with a chance of sun breaks Small Talk Daily’s content…

Conversation Starters:  Weather

Talking about the weather is the trusty old companion when it comes to making small talk. You can ALWAYS talk about the weather.  It’s constantly changing. You either like it or you don’t like it. And there’s always some weather oddity happening somewhere in the world.

  • “Are you enjoying this weather?”
  • “Is it too hot (too cold) for you?”
  • “Do you think we’re going to get any rain (snow, sun, wind)?”
  • “Anyone you know affected by that flooding (tornado, drought)?”
  • “Did you hear about that tornado (hurricane, flood, blizzard, hailstorm)?”

Current Events:  Doctor Dog

Medical reports this week highlighted the fact that dogs can detect lung cancer in a person’s breath with great accuracy. Can you imagine going to the doctor who has a dog smell your breath? The challenge is does one bark or two mean you have cancer, or do they just want a doggy treat? Here’s some talking points about medical dogs…

  • “Did you hear that doctors have found that dogs can smell lung cancer on a person’s breath?
  • Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the United States, killing about 160,000 Americans every year.
  • Lung cancer kills more each year than breast, colon and prostate cancer deaths combined.
  • A black Labrador in Japan has also been trained to sniff out colon cancer by sniffing stool samples. (Go ahead and make your own joke about dogs sniffing your bottom!)

Joke of the Day:

From Conan…

“Today the Supreme Court ruled that TV networks can show momentary nudity. So, by popular demand, “The View” is now a radio show.”

Have a good talk!

–The Small Talk Daily Team

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Small Talk about Sports & Executive Privilege

Let’s Small Talk About:  Sports | Executive Privilege


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A little research goes a long way to prepare for small talk at a social event. A great way to find out what’s hot and trending at any given time is to visit http://www.google.com/trends/. And here’s today’s Small Talk Daily’s trendy content…

Conversation Starters:  Sports

Whether you are a sports fan or can’t stand to watch it, sports does provide a lot of small talk opportunities. Something is always in season, whether it’s baseball, football, basketball, competitive table tennis, or a hundred other options. Just insert a team name in the blank, whether it’s professional, college, high school or your local little league team…

  • “How about them ____________?”
  • “Are you following the __________?”
  • “What do you think the chances are for _________ this year?”
  • “Did you play any sports in school?” “Are you still playing today?”
  • “What sport do you like to watch?”

Current Events:  Executive Privilege

Despite what your political views are, one of the hot topics of the day is the fact that President Obama invoked his Executive Privilege to get the Attorney General out of providing information to Congress about the “Fast and the Furious” gun running scandal.

With just a little knowledge about Executive Privilege, you can jump in and participate in any conversation about it.  Here’s some talking points…

  • Executive Privilege is not in the constitution.
  • It is based in the constitutionally mandated separation of powers – that the President, Congress and the Courts operate independently of each other.
  • George Washington was the first to invoke Executive Privilege in 1792, when Congress was probing St. Clair’s Defeat, a disastrous battle against American Indians that cost the lives of hundreds of U.S. soldiers.
  • This is the first time Obama has invoked it. George W. Bush used it 6 times in 8 years.  President Clinton invoked it 14 times.

Joke of the Day:

From The Tonight Show with Jay Leno…

“For the first time ever, Asians are immigrating more to this country than any other minority group. But unlike other groups, Asians are just here to do the jobs Americans aren’t smart enough to do.”

 

Have a good talk!

–The Small Talk Daily Team

 

 

 

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Small Talk Tips: Compliments & Summer Soltice

Let’s make small talk about: Compliments | Summer Solstice


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My you’re looking lovely today. The sun really highlights your hair, and your smile lights up the room. Well, enough about you, let’s talk about something to talk about. Here’s today’s small talk content…

Conversation Starters:  Compliments

“A compliment is verbal sunshine” is a quote from an old guy who used to be famous in the 1920’s, but his sentiments are still up-to-date today!  There’s nothing like a compliment to break the ice and make the person you’re talking to feel good about themselves and about you.  Here’s some thoughts on choosing an appropriate compliment.

  • Compliment something they’re wearing. “I really like your necklace. Is that (new… a gift… a family heirloom?)
  • Compliment one of their features. “Your blue eyes are really sparkling tonight.”
  • Compliment something in their environment. “I love your couch.” “Your landscaping is wonderful.” “That’s a great painting in your living room.”
  • Compliment their accomplishments. “It’s inspiring that you volunteer time at the Boys & Girls Club.”

The key is to be sincere and to not over-compliment. You want to mean what you say, and not appear to be a shallow suck-up.

Current Events:  Summer Solstice

Tomorrow (June 20th) is the Summer Solstice which results in the longest day of the year (and shortest night.) Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” + “to stand still.” As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky. It’s a great topic for conversation.

  • Have any big plans for the longest day of the year?
  • Stonehenge is a big destination for the solstice. Ever been there?
  • Are you glad to see summer arrive, or do you prefer a different season?

Joke of the Day: 

From Jay Leno… President Obama spent about four hours on Father’s Day playing golf at a country club in Chicago. It was his 100th round of golf since taking office. He’s played more golf than Tiger Woods in the last four years.

Actually, Obama’s staff is a little concerned. They’re concerned all this golf is cutting into his fund-raising.

 

Now go find someone to talk to…

The Small Talk Team!

 

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Make Small Talk: Party Girls

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It’s the weekend which only seems appropriate as party girls young and old are in the news once again. Here’s today’s “party like it’s 1999” small talk content…

 Conversation Starters: Paramedics were called to Lindsey Lohan’s Ritz Carlton Hotel in Southern California where reports said she was unconscious. Later reports said she was fine, but with her history and the fact that a week ago she wrecked her Porsche, it makes one wonder… and makes good conversation..

“Did you see where Lindsey Lohan had issues again? Do you think she’ll ever get her life straightened out.”

Follow-Up Questions:

  •  Do you think her issues came from the fact she has a dysfunctional family, or because she was a child actor?
  •  Would you ever allow your kids to be child actors?

 

Current Events: And another party girl – Madonna – also continues to make news at 53 years old. On her latest tour she first flashed her breast in Instanbul, than moons the crowd in Rome.

  •  What do you think about Madonna’s latest antics?
  •  She has always been great at self-promotion. Do you think this is just to grab the headlines?
  •  Lady GaGa just had to cancel some concerts because the countries thought she would be too controversial. Do you think she’s just showing the young whipper-snapper how it’s done?

 But Wait There’s More: Saturday night in Portland, Oregon is the yearly “Naked Bike Ride,” when over 8,000 bike riders take to the streets after they take off all their clothes.

  •  The World’s Naked Bike Ride’s dress code is officially “As bare as your dare!” How daring would you be if you joined the ride?
  •  Have you thought about what kind of seat you would want on your bike?
  •  Do you think the participants are one’s who should probably keep their clothes on?

 

Joke of the Day:

Lindsay Lohan calls US Airways and asks, “Can you tell me how long it’ll take to fly from San Francisco to New York City?” The agent replies, “Just a minute” “Thank you,” the Lindsay Lohan says, and hangs up.

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Small Talk Ideas: Graduation

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One of the best ice-breakers is a smile. Try an experiment today and just smile at random people you meet or talk to. See how it changes their whole attitude.  And here’s today’s Small Talk content delivered with a smile…

Conversation Starters:  It’s Graduation season and the big names in politics and entertainment are giving speeches to the graduating class of 2012.  From the President and the First Lady, to Steve Carell, Oprah, and even one of the Mythbusters, those who have ‘made it’ are sharing their wit and wisdom to those who are ready to face the real world.  But perhaps the most entertaining speech I’ve heard this year was from an 8th grader at 8th grade graduation.  He said, “I learned in Language Arts that sleep is a metaphor for death.  That means that our Language Arts teachers are metaphorically serial killers!”

Whether you slept through school or were a straight “A” student, graduation speeches is a great conversation starter…

* Did you see (insert name here) was in town to give the commencement address?

* If you had to give the speech, what advice would you give the graduates?

* What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you knew back in school?

* Do you remember who spoke at your graduation?

Current Events:  The U.S. Open has begun in the world of golf. It looks like Tiger Woods is returning to the ‘old tiger’ ways, at least when it comes to the golf course. After recent wins, he is playing as good as he used to.  But Tiger remains a good topic of conversation, as everyone has a strong opinion one way or another.

* What do you think about Tiger Woods chances of winning?

* Do you think the country should ‘forgive and forget’ about Tiger’s past and root for him again?

* Do you think ‘the new Tiger’ is real because he’s matured, or is it just an act?

 

Jokes of the Day:

•   Ever Wonder? If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

•    From the Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson:

“Betty White met with President Obama at the White House. President Obama invited Betty personally because she’s great with animals. And the president’s still having a tough time house-training Joe Biden.”

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Small Talk Tips: Summer

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And here’s today’s Small Talk content to prepare you for casual conversation. Make it your goal today to strike up a conversation with someone new – in the elevator, at the store, in the lunchroom – just choose one person and say “hello!”

Conversation Starters: With summer quickly approaching, the season provides some good conversation starter questions. Think about how you would answer these questions  so you can engage in a conversation instead of just an interview. Read more ›

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Small Talk Ideas: Television

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For shy people like us, it’s challenging to talk with strangers. We need to take on Will Roger’s attitude, who said, “Strangers are just friends I haven’t met yet!”  And here’s today’s Small Talk content to prepare you to talk to friends you haven’t met yet…

Conversation Starters:  Questions are always good conversation starters, but it’s even better if you lay the foundation or set the scene before you lead into the question. For example, you’re at an office training session, sitting next to someone you don’t know. The pre-question set-up would go something like this.
“Hi, I’m Jane.”  (Let them share their name.)  “Sometimes our office reminds me of the TV show called “The Office.”  Do you ever watch it?
Follow-Up Questions:
  • What is your favorite television show?
  • Have you ever met any celebrities?
  • If you could have dinner with anyone famous, who would it be?
  • If they made a movie of your life, who would you like to play you?

Current Events:  Your Office Is BUGGED!!! The New York Times has released results of an investigation that discovered some interesting items about germs in the workplace.
1.      On the average, men have 10% to 20% more bacteria in their offices than women.
2.      New York offices were more bacteria-ridden than San Francisco ones.
The study examined items like chairs, phones, and keyboards in more than 90 offices in three cities: New York, San Francisco, and Tuscon.
Jokes of the Day:
  • QUESTION:  What do you call it when a dinosaur wrecks his car?

        ANSWER:  Tyrannosaurus Wrecks

  • From Late Night with David Letterman:

“Another al-Qaida No. 2 guy was hit by a drone. I’m telling you, these Al Qaeda leaders, they don’t last as long as a Kardashian marriage.”

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