How to Avoid Small Talk – with the Perfect Question (VIDEO)

My friend was once in a queue and overheard the man behind him loudly declaring, “You see, I’m the kind of guy who really doesn’t like to line up. I like to just get in and get out. But this? Not for me.

I feel about him the way I feel about the kind of smug, annoying person who, when they find out I that show people how to do networking (that’s actually FUN), responds,

Oh, I don’t do networking. You see, I hate small talk.

Right, buddy. You and EVERY OTHER PERSON ALIVE.

Great news: small talk CAN be avoided, by asking a very simple question.
All is revealed when you click the big PLAY triangle below:

Quick summary for those without video access (though you ARE missing out on several wigs and a couple of obscene hand gestures):

Instead of asking, “What do you do?”, ask:

How’s your day been? What was your favourite part?

  • Everyone has an answer (and is an expert)
  • It’s a good question, even for introverts (not too intrusive)
  • It’s also weirdly intimate (you’d ask it to your best friend)
  • You’re likely to hit on common touch points
  • It makes the person talking feel AMAZING – which makes them feel amazing about YOU!

Want to avoid small talk? Ask better questions!

Your Turn

I’d like you to try this question at least once this week. With someone you meet through work; someone who you’re buying a thing from; or a friend of a friend. Then let me know, in the comments below, how it went! I’d also – of course – LOVE to hear any small talk horror stories you have. Remember: sharing is healing. Write it out in the comments below, and we’ll ALL feel better!

Thanks so much for watching and reading! If you have a friend that HATES small talk, it would be rad if you could share it with them, using one of those round buttons below.

You rule!

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha



PS want to know my best-ever client secret – and get even more advice, tips, plus stories that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family – it’s free! Just pop your details in below:


  • Sam

    Reply Reply October 14, 2015

    So simple yet so effective!!!
    Thanks for a fantastic tip, and for the role plays haha

  • Jan

    Reply Reply October 15, 2015

    Gotta love your wigs! Reminds me to do a trip to value village before their Halloween Sale is over!
    Love the tip, actually used that question quite a bit, but not with the follow up question about what was the best part.

    Sometimes I like to ask: “What gets you really excited these days?”
    It leaves it open for someone to talk about something personal or business, but again gets them talking about something they are passionate about.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply October 16, 2015

      Ooh, yes I love that. These days I am REALLY excited about the TV show Utopia!

      Thanks, Jan :)

  • Julia

    Reply Reply October 15, 2015

    You are HILARIOUS! Pervy Marsha is awesome. Definitely pervy, and cleverly more charming than creepy. Excellent post, too, as always. Your suggestions are so beautifully infused with compassion for all parties, and there’s everything to love about that!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply October 16, 2015

      Ha ha, thanks! I hope you caught her re-entry right at the end :)
      And thanks for the LOVELY words!

  • Catarina

    Reply Reply October 15, 2015

    Love it, am SO going to use this (small talk’s the worst!).

  • Love this question. You are the bestest!!! <3

  • Zak Grove

    Reply Reply January 14, 2016

    I’ve never listened to a podcast before in my life; however, earlier today, I was recommended to listen to the Art of Charm. I opened up the podcast app, found The Art of Charm, and scrolled through around 200 posts until I found on that peaked my interest, “Saying Yes to Networking”. I listened through the entire podcast and you were phenomenal. Just stopping by to say thanks, you let me in on some really important material, which I’m unsure how I didn’t realize in the past –especially the aspect about not trying to sell yourself at networking events, brilliant. Again, thank you so much, I’ll definitely be checking out your blog for awhile, keep up the excellent work Marsha.

    Also, great job name dropping your site during the podcast because honestly, I most likely wouldn’t have reached out otherwise.

    Thanks again!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply February 3, 2016

      Zak! What a WONDERFUL message! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to say all those nice things. It really means a TON! I’m delighted that I made it to the top of the 200 :)

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