10 Tips for Mastering Small-Talk

Do you have the gift of gab, or do you dread social engagements because you don’t like making small-talk? While small-talk is bordering on the frivolous, it’s an important skill to have. The ability to speak comfortably with strangers, coworkers, and casual acquaintances is valuable. It’s a great way to make new friends and maybe even find a new career opportunity.

These strategies will help you develop your gift of gab:

1. Be prepared. Have a few things to talk about beforehand. If you’re heading to a party or other social gathering, think of two or three things you can bring up as conversation topics. It could be something interesting that’s happening in your life or a current news item.

2. Be curious. Show that you’re interested and the other people will find you interesting. Pretend you’re a detective trying to find out more about the other person. Be curious and ask questions.

3. Ask the right questions. Avoid simple one-word-answer questions. These are questions like, “Where are you from?” or “What do you do for a living?” Instead, ask questions that require lengthier answers. Starting a sentence with “why” or “how” is a good bet. Get the other person talking and relax. Here are a few ideas:

* Would you rather work four 10-hour days or five eight-hour days?
* Are you reading any good books right now? I’d love some recommendations.
* Are there any foods that you absolutely would not eat?
* What’s the next trip you have planned?
* How would you spend your time if you didn’t have to work?

4. Be an excellent listener. You can become an amazing conversationalist by asking a few, good questions and giving your full attention to the other person. Hang on their every word and listen for all you’re worth. Maintain eye contact and give the impression that you’re fascinated with them.

5. Put your phone away. Studies have shown that participants in a conversation are less satisfied with the conversation if a phone was present. It didn’t matter if the phone was on the table and never touched! Keep your phone out of sight. You can check your text messages later.

6. Get lots of practice. One thing the world has plenty of is people. Use them to practice your small-talk skills. Whenever you’re out of the house, find an excuse to strike up a 2-minute conversation. You’ll be amazed by how quickly your skills and comfort grow.

7. Have reasonable expectations. One little chat is unlikely to lead to a great love affair, a promotion, or the most interesting conversation you’ve ever had. That’s good news! You can relax and enjoy the conversation for what it is – an enjoyable, low-stress, social interaction.

8. Be prepared with an escape. Many small-talk conversations die quickly. It’s not necessary to hang in there until the bitter end. Have a few escapes lined up in advance, such as:

* Allow me to introduce you to my friend, Karen.
* It’s been a pleasure. I have to say hello to a client.

9. Avoid oversharing. Talking about the weather is boring. However, talking about your child-custody battle with a stranger is sharing too much. Be interesting without making the conversation uncomfortable.

10. Keep moving. Enjoy yourself. If you’re not finding pleasure in a particular conversation, you’re free to move on to another. Bow out gracefully and look for greener pastures.

Small-talk skills require practice, but you have plenty of opportunities to gain experience. Seek out every opportunity to practice your skills. Small-talk skills can enhance your social life and your career. You might even learn to enjoy chatting with a stranger.

How To Support a Loved One Who Wants to Quit Smoking

Most of those who have a loved ones that smoke are either publicly or privately praying and wishing they quit smoking. When smokers quit smoking, they can potentially reverse some of the health damages that they had caused whilst also reducing the risk of second-hand smoke they impose on their loved ones. It can also help in freshening up your home.

Your support will hugely make a big difference in your loved one  being successful in quitting smoking. Statistically, smokers try to quit about every 2 to 3 years, however most of them fail due to using  ineffective means of quitting. The NIH recommends offering brief and tactful advice on a frequent basis, along with practical assistance to overcome the barriers to quitting.

If you’re eager to lend a hand, study this list of how to support someone who’s trying to quit smoking. You’ll be helping your family and friends say goodbye to tobacco.

Moral Support for Becoming Smoke Free:

Respect their choices. While your intentions are good, remember that it needs to be the smoker’s decision to quit. This is primarily about them and what they want to do.

Understand individual needs. Different things work for different smokers. Even if you quit yourself twenty years ago, your loved one needs to find their own path to becoming smoke free.

Listen closely. Paying attention to what your loved one has to say will show you what they need. How do they respond when you ask them to consider quitting? How do they want you to support them?

Be patient. Nicotine withdrawal can cause irritability and anxiety. Avoid taking it personally, and be thankful that it’s temporary.

Celebrate victories. Tell your loved ones that you recognize and appreciate their efforts. Buy your girlfriend flowers for the one month anniversary of her last cigarette. Offer a round of applause when a friend pops a mint after coffee instead of reaching for his usual cigarette.

Remain positive. Nagging and lecturing usually backfire. Focus on making progress, and creating solutions.

Practical Support for Becoming Smoke Free:

  1. Educate yourself. It can sometimes be motivating to hear about the benefits of quitting. Stock up on facts. For instance, the risk of lung cancer drops by 50% after 10 to 15 years of being smoke free.
  2. Provide distractions. Sometimes it’s helpful just to change the subject. Take your loved one’s mind off of smoking by watching a sunset or browsing through a book store.

Remove triggers. Putting ashtrays and lighters out of sight makes smoking less convenient. Work together on changing habits like taking a walk after dinner instead of smoking a cigarette.

Reduce stress. Postpone discussions about car repairs and in-laws until after your loved one feels more stable. Take over some of their chores or play gentle music.

Prepare for relapses. Most smokers require several attempts before quitting for good. Keep setbacks in perspective. Turn them into lessons on what to do next time.

Join them. If you smoke, consider quitting together. You’ll be strengthening your relationship as well as your lungs.

Seek additional help. There are many tools available today to help with giving up tobacco. Let your loved one know that it’s a sign of strength to ask for more help. Behavioral therapy and nicotine replacement devices may provide the final boost you need.

Quitting smoking can be tough, but it’s easier when a loved one wants to help, and knows how to do it. Offer caring and respectful advice backed up with practical assistance and encouragement to use proven treatments like counseling and medication.

What is a Life Coach and Do You Need One?


Athletes have coaches. Many entrepreneurs and professionals have mentors. They’re really the same thing. A life coach is a coach for your life. Most of us weren’t formally taught how to live successfully. A life coach can help you to figure out what you want to do with your life, set goals, and achieve them. They have experience in helping others to live fulfilling lives.

A life coach wears many hats:

1.  A cheerleader

Life is easier when someone is in your corner. When you know you have support, it’s easier to take risks and chase after big goals. You always have someone on your side when you have a life coach.

  • Your life coach will also push you. They’ve seen plenty of clients attempt to avoid hard work and stressful situations. They’ll know when you’re playing games and push you to succeed.

2.  Provides guidance

It’s not always easy to make good decisions, especially when you’re stressed or fearful. And let’s face it, some of us just don’t make good decisions, period. A life coach can help you to make wise decisions.

  • A friend can’t always be objective or completely honest, but your life coach can. You’ll hear what you need to hear from your life coach.

3.  Helps you to determine what you want to be when you grow up

It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 68. A mentor can help you to determine what the next step of your life should be. If you’re feeling lost, life coaching might be the answer.

4.  Can  balance

Life coaches are aware that there’s more to life than just money or a perfect beach body. They emphasize keeping all parts of a person’s life in balance. Health, professional success, relationships, finances, spirituality and leisure activities are all part of a well-balanced life.

5.  Can help with many facets of life

A few of these include:

  • Career
  • Love life
  • Finding your life’s purpose
  • Achieving challenging goals
  • Making more money
  • Creating more free time
  • Following an exercise program
  • Starting a business

6.  A life coach is not a therapist

Therapists deal with past issues and traumas. Life coaches work from the present moment and into the future. A life coach won’t help you get over a past loss or deal with the fact that you were bullied in junior high. A life coach can guide you toward building a more desirable future.

7.  A life coach isn’t required to have any training

There are organizations that certify life coaches, but they aren’t necessary to hang out a shingle and make a living as a life coach. Be sure to vet anyone you’re considering hiring as a life coach. Since the barriers to entry are so low, there are plenty of life coaches that aren’t good at what they do.

  • Pay attention to reviews and schedule an introductory session to see if a particular life coach is a good fit. Most will offer a free session. Choose carefully.

Do you need a life coach? A life coach won’t solve your challenges, but they can help you to help yourself. If you need a steady hand to guide you and a cheerleader to support you, a life coach can make a big difference. There are good life coaches and bad life coaches. If you’re looking for a life coach, ensure that you find a good one.

Click here to book your FREE Coaching Session

10 Ways to Build Self Esteem in Your Children


Most of the challenges that most children are dealing with are due to low self-esteem. You name it… teenage pregnancy, drug misuse, bad academic results, violence, depression, and even suicide can be traced back to low self-esteem. A child with high self-esteem will enjoy life more and have a more successful childhood. Children with high self-esteem are likely to grow into adults with high self-esteem.

Below are way to help develop your child’s self-esteem and confidence:

  1. Applaud your child’s strengths. Let your child bask in the glory of being good at something. Whether your child’s strength is school, throwing a fastball, or playing Go Fish, let them know that you notice how great they are at it.
  2. Teach your child how to deal with failure. Explain that it happens to everyone and is part of life. Help your child to examine what went wrong in her approach and how to improve. Encourage your child to be persistent until success is achieved.
  3. Give your child choices. Just be sure to control the options. Suppose your young child is getting dressed for school. Instead of choosing the clothes for your child, allow him to have a few options. Choose a few different outfits and then allow your child to choose between them. You’ll have a well-dressed kid that feels empowered because he chose his own clothes.
  4. Allow your child to fit in at school. The idea of purple jeans might seem bizarre to you, but if that’s what all the cool kids are doing, let it go. It can be difficult for adults to remember the importance of peer acceptance in high school. Allow your child to fit in.
  5. Allow your child to struggle a little. It can be hard to resist the urge to provide help at every opportunity. However, it can be great for a child to learn how to deal with struggle. Ensure that the struggle ends successfully! Give your child the opportunity to be successful without parental intervention.
  6. Be reasonable in your praise. Your 9-year old knows her drawing of a butterfly isn’t the best butterfly the world has ever seen. Instead, offer a comment like, “I love how you used so many colors in the wings.” Be sincere with your praise.
  7. Allow your child to overhear you complimenting them. For example, the next time you’re on the phone in front of your child, mention something positive about him. He’ll be sure to hear and feel on top of the world.
  8. Avoid comparing one child to another. All people are individuals. Comments like, “Why can’t you be as neat as your sister?” cause more harm than good.
  9. Spend time alone with your child. It’s one way of showing that your child is important to you. Your child knows you could be doing a lot of other things, but you chose to spend time with her instead.
  10. Be encouraging. We all require support from time to time. When your child is struggling, provide encouragement and support. Let them know that they’re not alone. Consider what you would’ve liked to hear as a child and allow that to be your guide.

A child with a healthy level of self-esteem will be happier and perform better in school. As a parent, you have a strong influence over your child’s self-confidence. Making your child feel good about himself is one of your greatest responsibilities. Pay attention to the little things each day, because that’s what your child is doing!

There are countless opportunities to make your child feel better or worse about himself. Be proactive.