How to Eliminate Small Talk Questions Forever, Part 1

How to Eliminate Small Talk Questions Forever, Part 1
Replace Small Talk Questions with Declaratory Statements.

In my last article, you learned that Small Talk Questions are the #1 conversation killer.  I promised that today you start doing better.  Are you ready?

Today is Part 1 of eliminating Small Talk Questions.


Recently, I went to dinner with 15 people, about half of whom were strangers.  One of the strangers was a young lady.  Since we were at a table together, I went the classic conversation route and asked her name.  She told me her name was Clara.

Now that I knew her name, what should I have done next?

Most people would revert to a Small Talk Question, like asking where she’s from.  I didn’t, but watch how I found out where she was from, nonetheless….

Me:  Let me guess where you’re from.  You strike me as being from the west coast.

Clara:  How did you know?  I don’t have much of an accent.

Me:  It’s the vibe you give-off.  Southern California, right?

Clara:  Right again.  Can you guess what county?

Me:  I’m going to go with Orange County.

Clara:  You’re good!  Can you guess the town?

I guessed Irvine, but she was from Huntington Beach.  Do I care that I was wrong?  No!  The point wasn’t to guess her hometown correctly; the point was to find out where she was from without asking a Small Talk Question.  In other words, the point was to have an interesting conversation that also conveyed information. 

How did I do it?  I replaced “Where are you from?” with “Let me guess where you’re from.  In other words, I replaced a Small Talk Question with a Declaratory Statement.  It was that simple!


There are an infinite number of ways to make a Declaratory Statement, so let me give you a few of my favorites.

Replace, “Where did you go to school?” with something like, “You seem like a Harvard guy/girl.”

Replace, “Where do you live?” with something like, “I bet you’re an Upper West Sider.

Replace, “What do you do for fun?” with something like, “All signs point to you loving mystery novels.

Yes, it is a little weird taking seemingly random guesses about people’s lives.  But as I said before, the point isn’t to be right — it is to start a conversation.  Once you see that Declaratory Statements get people talking, you’ll never go back to Small Talk Questions!

Now your turn…. How would you turn “What is your favorite movie?” into a Declaratory Statement?  You can read my answer in the Comments, below, if you promise to post your answer there, too.


Imagine a conversation in which you are the most interesting person.

Imagine a room in which you are the most fascinating person.

Imagine a conference in which you are the most enchanting person.

You can be!


  • Small Talk Questions are the #1 killer of conversations
  • Replace Small Talk Questions with Declaratory Statements
  • Read my answer to “What is your favorite movie?” in the Comments, below, and post your response, too
Jeremy Hamburgh
Jeremy Hamburgh
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  1. James Ogilvie says:

    “What’s your favorite movie?” could become
    “You seem like a science fiction film fan.” or
    “I’ll bet you like indie films.”


  1. […] my last article, we discussed how to eliminate Small Talk Questions by using Declaratory Statements.  We’re not done yet because there’s more than one way to eliminate Small Talk […]

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