How to Turn Small Talk Questions to Your Advantage, Part 2

How to Turn Small Talk Questions to Your Advantage, Part 2

Dynamic Answers to Small Talk Questions

The last article may have left you a bit confused, maybe even frustrated.  We discussed the importance of giving Dynamic Answers to Small Talk Questions but I didn’t give you useful guidance for how to do that.  That’s what today is about.

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Socializing and dating can feel like a test.  You get asked question-after-question and are expected to give correct answer-after-answer.  Wouldn’t the test be easier if you had the questions beforehand?

Yes, that would definitely make the test easier.

The good news is that you do have the test questions beforehand.  They are:

  • Where are you from?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • Where do you live?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • Why are you at this event?

Recognize the test?  Yup, a bunch of Small Talk Questions!

Here’s the problem that most people have…

Even though most people know that they’ll be asked Small Talk Questions, they haven’t even begun thinking about the answers.  You can’t give interesting, conversation-boosting Dynamic Answers without advanced planning!

That’s why I want you to follow my mantra:  Know before you go.

Simply put, my mantra means that you develop and learn your Dynamic Answers before you leave home.  That way you aren’t trying to think of answers when you’re nervous.


You want to write your Dynamic Answers when you’re at your creative best.  Only you know when that time is.  For me, it’s in my bathtub.  For you it might be on the couch or in a coffee shop.

Whatever your ideal thinking environment is, that’s where you need to be when you write your Dynamic Answers.

Get out your Action Plan now because you’re going to need it….

Follow these steps to being a more fascinating person:

  • Step 1:  Write down all the Small Talk Questions that come to your head (including the ones I gave you, above)
  • Step 2:  Write down your usual one sentence answer to each Small Talk Question
  • Step 3:  Now cross-out your one sentence answer
  • Step 4:  Replace it with a story of three lines or more that answers the question

Here’s how I would do it…

Let’s say that I’m in the bathtub working on my Dynamic Answer to, “Where are you from?”  My Action Plan would look something like this:

  • Step 1:  Where are you from?
  • Step 2:  I am from New York.
  • Step 3:  I am from New York.
  • Step 4:  I am from a quiet street in northern Manhattan.  Something that’s really cool is that four generations of my family have lived on that street, too.  For some reason, though, taxi drivers never seem to know where it is.

Let’s try it again with, “Where did you go to school?

  • Step 1:  Where did you go to school?
  • Step 2:  I went to Brandeis University.
  • Step 3:  I went to Brandeis University.
  • Step 4:  I went to a small liberal arts college outside of Boston called Brandeis.  Not only did I go there, so did my dad, aunt and sister.  They’re collected a lot of Hamburgh tuition!


Helping you be a more interesting person is so important to me that I’m going to give you a gift:  I will personally help you make your Dynamic Answers better.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Go to the Comments, below
  • Write your Small Talk Question in CAPITAL LETTERS
  • Then write your Dynamic Answer in normal letters

I will give you feedback on each-and-every Dynamic Answer you post in the Comments…no limit.  And I’ll do the same for everyone you know, too: Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn StumbleUpon


  • Know before you go:  Write all the Small Talk Questions into your Action Plan and then give yourself time to write Dynamic Answers
  • Your Dynamic Answers should respond to the question and also add something to the conversation
  • FREE GIFT: Personal feedback about your Dynamic Answers in the Comments, below
Jeremy Hamburgh
Jeremy Hamburgh

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  1. Tony Langdon says:

    This strategy might work for some, though not all. I’m going to be an example of a potentially “tough” case for you, hopefully I will be able to express exactly what worked for me. :) In this case, preparing questions in advance won’t work for someone like me.

    Firstly, that means thinking out of context (bit like homework, which never worked for me). Unlike homework, there is no teacher or deadline, with the most likely outcome being that the idea gets forgotten.

    Secondly, open ended searches for something (in this case, questions, and later on, answers) are laborious and intensive. Best avoided, because they use up an incredible amount of mental energy for little return.

    So, as to how I got around the small talk issue, I have a highly associative memory, and it usually doesn’t take long for a conversation to trigger a string of memories that lead down an interesting “detour”. It can be a combination of things, like the question combined with something I see on the person or that has been mentioned previously, or even some pattern I’ve noticed.

    I guess the take home message here is simply “Know and play to your strengths”. :)

    • Jeremy Hamburgh says:


      I absolutely agree that you should play to your strengths. If you have an associative memory that leads your conversations towards interesting stories, then go with it! It’s a gift not to be ignored.

      Most people don’t have highly associative memory and, even if they did, they tend to answer Small Talk Questions with dead-end answers. They try hard to meet people and wonder why their conversations don’t progress. I guess this technique is more for them than for you.

      Thank you for your thought!



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