Top Lessons I learned In Business & As A Salesperson

The first “Job” Job I ever had

When I was 21, I started an online distribution company on Amazon.  I was working for this shady distribution company acting as their “Purchasing Manager” for like $15 dollars an hour.  They wanted me to get contacts for brands like MAC cosmetics, designer fragrances, coach bags, and other high end accounts.  My role was to buy at wholesale then ship oversees where the product was scarce and make a huge markup at the other offices.  It was super shady because we were dealing with an international Singapore office and selling goods that were unauthorized by the brands in certain locations.  Basically dealing in a gray market.  Turns out the whole beauty distribution industry is super shady in this regard.  Rather than discount certain goods to the public, companies like MAC cosmetics or Proctor & Gamble will sell to third party distributors old and unsold products, who will then sell it again to online sellers, third party shops and overseas.  So all those Ebay and Amazon stores selling cosmetics and goods are not necessarily fake, but are likely old product that’s been cycled through different distributors.

 I eventually had a contact for MAC cosmetics and decided to be bold and use it for my own use and become an Amazon pro-seller.  The money was just calling me.  I couldn’t help but think if I start selling this stuff people would buy it.  This was my first experience working for myself and being an entrepreneur.   My online store  was for cosmetics and our main item for sale was MAC Cosmetics. You wouldn’t believe how popular MAC is online, we had this wholesaler who would sell it to us. (I swear it was authentic). That was literally the only thing we would sell. I sold 80k worth of it within the first year.

Well I guess we didn’t tip the wholesaler enough because he stiffed us on the product and wouldn’t sell to us any more.

All the other product out there to buy was pretty much garbage and not giving us a high enough profit margin to make the effort.

After that I closed the business but I learned a few good lessons about owning a business:

  1. Never go into business with a friend.
    1. It sounds fun at first but it’sa recipe for disaster. I had worked with her at the distribution company and it was a lot of fun.  I felt guilty for taking the contact and profiting on my own, when my best friend was sitting right next to me.  We had very different approaches to the business though.  She wanted to cash out too early so we were never able to reinvest or grow the company. If our orders were growing, it would have been more worthwhile for the supplier and he would have been less likely to drop us like that. We were unknowingly wasting his time by making him fill our small orders twice a month.
  2. Always tip the people who help you make money
    1. It’s just good karma and it good at relationship building. You won’t believe how good “You’ll scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” strategy works.  I was so stupid to not give a nice Christmas bonus, like it’s such an obvious thing to do. When when your young and trying to start a business with absolutely no money, every dollar counts, but the dollars you spend on the people who help you be successful are the most important to spend.
  3. Never rely on one source of income or client for your business.
    1. When the MAC supply ran dry so did our business. We never bothered to diversify. We could have done videos on makeup or promoted our own products. But we never got that far.
    2. I’ve also read about other people making this mistake like YouTubers and Insta Influencers using only one platform to make their connections.  This is obviously risky since you are not in charge of the overall platform and if they decide to shut you down because of a “policy violation,” well then you’re SOL.

Lessons I learned From Being A Salesperson

When I stopped doing what the other salespeople were doing that’s when it clicked and I started to do so much more business.  There are 10,000 licensed real estate salespeople in  NYC.  There are only so many rental and sales deals for all those agents.  The reality is that not everyone will be successful in this industry and many are living hand to mouth and deal to deal.

They say 5% of salespeople make 80% of deals. To be the top sales person you need to do things other people aren’t willing to do or are too lazy to do.

In real estate that meant doing a mailing list. Many agents were too preoccupied with finding their next deal, they didn’t think ahead to do long term prospecting like email blasts and promotions.

I also prospected by cold calling leads for exclusives and following up relentlessly. All I needed was to have one door open and then I would snowball that opportunity into other opportunities.

Over time you want to create a snowball effect of success. Promoting yourself and showing off your accomplishments helps you get the confidence and business you need from new customers.  The snowball effect is probably the most important lesson I learned.  The more time you spend on a business, the more it should grow.  It should never be stagnant  unless there is a catastrophic economic collapse or recession.  The issue is that no one teaches you how to start the snowball.  In the beginning, it looks very small and almost useless to keep rolling.  Maybe a piece breaks off here and again there but over time all the cumulative effort you made over the years will be worth something, it will get stronger, and next thing you know you have a giant business! (Snowball!)

Once the snowball is huge, that’s when people notice you and give you more business with little prospecting.

Things that will help you grow your snowball:

  • Mailing lists and email blasts with all the contacts you’ve ever had
  • Cold calls
  • Holiday cards
  • Quality business cards
  • Neat  work space
  • Requesting referrals
  • Gifts at closing
  • Following up with service, doing surveys
  • Having a business plan and marketing plan
  • Being consistent with the above items

I hope you’ve found this post really useful. It was actually a discussion that I first started on Quora but it was so popular there, I decided to expand on the discussion.

Let me know your thoughts and feedback and feel free to follow, share and like.

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Why I Took The Risk And Quit Law School

Stand Up For Yourself, Even When You Have Everything To Lose

They say sticks and stones will break your bones but words can never hurt you.

I beg to differ.

Because every time I’ve ever let someone talk down to me, I’ve felt like absolute garbage. And I think bad or negative encounters stay with us longer than we like to admit. There are some people in this world that are just plain nasty. You can be as sweet as pie to them and they always find a way to cut you down. Sometime we don’t even know how we feel until hours after the encounter occurs. In instances of confrontation I’ve always walked away, but I’ve learned to let the other person know that I’m not going to take it from them and their behavior is not acceptable.  Confidence is something that’s learned in time.

——–

The first time I’ve had a bad encounter was when I was working at Auntie Anne’s pretzels. 18 year old me as standing by the cash register selling hand rolled delicious pretzels. A customer had asked for extra butter on her cinnamon sugar pretzel and as I was putting in the bag after she had paid she says, “You’re disgusting. You just touched my pretzel with your hands.”

I said, “No ma’am, I’m using the tongs to grab these. But if you like I can give you another one”

“Okay, I want these.” She points to the cinnamon sticks which are 75 cents more.

“Okay, but those are the cinnamon sticks, they’re more than the regular pretzels. They’re 75 cents more.”

“Well, I don’t know why I should pay more for them.”

“You get more pretzels with it, that’s the price Ma’am.”

My coworker who sees me struggling, tells me to just give her the sticks for the same price.

“I usually can’t do this, but I’ll give these to you for the same price as the pretzels.”

“You know what, I should get these for free since you’ve wasted so much time.”

I’m starting to get really aggravated. “Sorry, I can’t give food for free”

We go back and forth like this and this nasty woman tells me I’m just a cashier and I’m a loser.

She takes the pretzel sticks and then throws it at me. This adult woman just threw food at me!!

I had never been attacked like that in my life and she literally just laughed as this 18 year old high schooler cried tears of anger and frustration.

That day I learned some people are just sadists and just take pleasure in hurting, humiliating and taking advantage of people in fast food.

That altercation sat with me for a few days. I wished I stood up for myself more and wondered what it was about me that gave that woman the impression I was someone to pick on.

———–

My first tour as a NYC rental broker was equally as bad of an altercation. It was literally my first day showing and my senior agent had these two recent grads looking for a 1BR under 2300 in midtown. And if you know Manhattan, you know that’s a dirt cheap rent anywhere. I had no idea what my senior agent Kevin had told these girls but I met them at the corner of 56th and Lexington and had them sign the Fee agreement for the apt they were about to see. I was so nervous. I wasn’t even trained on anything yet, and I probably came off as really green.

“Why do I have sign this?!” One of the girls demanded.

“There’s a fee with this apt. I can’t show this apt unless you agree to a brokers fee if you rent this”

The girls eyed me suspiciously, then signed it.

We went off to see the apt down the street.

“This is a terrible apt, not what we saw online. You wasted our time.”

I called Kevin to confirm that was the apartment they had called on. He confirmed and told me to ask them if they wanted to see any of our other apts in that price range.

I don’t remember what was said next but they were picking on me, double teaming me and complaining about, “how I switch and baited them and that the’ve seen better apartments with other agents.”

I just wanted the appointment to end. “Well, it sounds like I don’t have anything else to show that you would like, I’m sorry.” I said tersely.

“What a waste of time!”

“I’m sorry you feel that way.” And then I left.

One block later I’m on the verge of tears wondering if I can really cut it in real estate.

I was happy that I kind of stood up for myself but hated that I felt so small.

—————-

Today a client tried to move in a day early. These are literally professional hustlers and were fighting us every step of the way. They had their movers at the building. And were furious that they couldn’t move in rent free, one day early.

“You all knew we were trying to move in a day early!!” Professional finger pointers.

My manager was trying to resolve the problem but was making it worst with his lack of tact. “I’m sorry I can’t just give you these keys and have you get one days free rent.” ?????

These people were desperate to get keys with all their stuff ready to move so they started throwing my name under the bus. “I signed leases with Alex and we talked about this!”

I wanted to set the record straight so I went talk to the client and try to smooth things over with some understanding. He started saying how ridiculous the whole thing was and how we’re holding him and his girlfriend hostage by not giving him keys etc. He’s telling me we don’t know how to do our jobs. He was raising his voice and getting in my space.

A part of me felt small again, like that day I felt when the woman threw pretzels at me. But I was thinking, I don’t need to apologize and if this becomes a full out confrontation, I’ll just leave.

I said calmly, “you don’t need to talk to me like that.”

“You messed up our whole morning and my girlfriend is late for work, I’ll talk to you how I want to!”

Oh yeah? I threw my hands up and said, “I don’t need to indulge this.” I started walking away calmly and called him disrespectful.

I got over it but it was funny how everyone in the office was so quiet when he attacked me verbally. Not even my manager knew what to do. He later brownnosed his way back into the client’s good graces.

I told my manager, “I don’t care, one day I might get fired for not sitting down and taking it from client’s and I’ll just have to move on to the next property.”

He seemed shocked that I would be so bold and tell him he can’t make me be nice to these assholes.

——————–

I’m actually a very introverted person and when people attack me for something that’s I did, I take responsibility and offer a solution. But if that’s not enough, I know how how to take my losses and walk away, while politely telling someone they are out of line.  Gaining self confidence and self-worth comes from knowing when to walk away.

Life is a slippery slope and we end up taking the treatment we think we deserve.

Don’t let anyone make you feel small. Stand up and speak up for yourself when people try to step on who you are and take advantage. If you think people will stand up for you, they won’t. Nobody stood up for me in any of these scenarios, sure they sympathized with how I felt, but no one stood up. I could have lost my job for not giving good customer service but I took the risk and guess what, I didn’t lose my job!

Some of you might be reading this and thinking, it’s not worth the aggravation and that you should never risk your job for your pride. And maybe I’m giving bad advice. But in my heart and in my soul, I know that every time I don’t stand up for myself I’m allowing myself to be treated as less than and accepting that as truth. I know it probably won’t change how nasty some people are. If standing up for myself doesn’t do much else, at least I set a boundary with myself on what I’m willing to accept. Ego shm-ego.

The workplace is a tough place, and you always have to remember to look out for #1. Learn how to be assertive at work and fight for your own agenda. No ones going to stick up for you and no one’s going to defend you. And while most jobs require some level of customer service and hospitality, it doesn’t mean you should allow your self to be treated like a doormat and disrespected.

Jobs come and go but your sense of self and how you are to be treated by other people is 100% on you.  Self confidence is everything.

Thanks for reading, if you liked this post feel free to follow, like and share!

Why I Took The Risk And Quit Law School

I think a lot of what has held me back in life has been my own insecurity over what other people think. There’s kind of a safety in following the herd and doing what’s expected. I was always one of those people who found safety in numbers. Sure, standing out meant you might be liked more but it could also be an opportunity for people to put you down. So that’s what I did for many years, I was a self chosen wallflower. I wasn’t much different from anyone else, nor did I want to be.

For people who suffer from self esteem issues, there’s a lack of self acceptance that causes you to doubt yourself. A little voice in your head that says, “I don’t know about this, people might think this is stupid.” What I’ve learned over time is that that voice is irrelevant. I really pushed myself against what other people think. In my heart, I knew what was right for me and though my actions seemed risky to others, I followed my passions.

I feel like the story about how I quit law school is pretty relevant to this message. You see, like many young college students I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea what my talents were or where my interests lay. I knew I was smart and was able to get good grades with some studying. Grad school seemed like a good option. And I like money and respect so going to law school seemed perfect. I could figure out what kind of law later. I had a vision that once I became a lawyer, I would be important and rich and everyone in life would like and respect me. So I took the LSAT, applied to different schools and finally was accepted to a decent law school in NYC with a partial scholarship. Everything seemed perfect.

A few days before I started law school I had a gut instinct that I didn’t want to go.  That was the first sign to quite law school.  I didn’t know where this feeling came from, I knew I shouldn’t be pursuing this degree. It was like a feeling of dread, like something terrible was about to happen. Logically, I didn’t have a good enough reason not to go, I didn’t listen to that instinct.  I went and spent 30K on that 1 year of law school.

And I bombed.

I sucked at the test taking. No matter how hard I tried I just wasn’t absorbing the information. I sucked at legal writing, I sucked at contract and real estate law. And I wasn’t happy. By the end of the first semester I started to question whether law school was the right direction for my talents.  My parents said, “No, you’ve got to see it through. Don’t be a quitter.” I didn’t want to be seen as a quitter by anyone. Even though that terrible gut feeling of doom was back, I continued my education for more torture.

That second semester, I was not sleeping or taking care of myself and literally abusing my body with adderral. I needed to get better grades, at whatever expense. I was getting addicted to adderall and by the end of that semester I was just over it. I didn’t bother checking my grades, I knew I was at the bottom of my class. June came and people had internships and I was like WTH, no one is going to hire me with these grades and I don’t think I can get through two more years of law school and a bar exam to become a lawyer.

So I quit.

The Assistant Dean actually called me when he saw I didn’t enroll again. I just let it go to voicemail. I couldn’t go back. My parents told me, “This is a decision you’ll regret for the rest of your life.” I wasn’t hearing it, I wasn’t going back.

That year, people would ask me how law school was going and it was so embarrassing to tell people I had quit. I tried to say it in a way that didn’t sound like quitting, “Oh I decided I didn’t want to be an attorney. Law school wasn’t for me.”  And it wasn’t. But being seen as someone who walked away from an opportunity really hung over my head.  I had quit law school and the question on my mind was “now what?”

After that I did an oddball office job until I got the special idea that I should be a real estate salesperson in NYC. I think I got the idea from Million Dollar Listing NY. LOL. I just loved the flashiness of it and the hustle. It seemed so legit. So I got my license and then signed up with a rental brokerage. It was the easiest thing ever.

I sucked at that too but I had the passion and drive to keep at it. I could tell you a billion stories about all the shitty client’s I had and all the fun deals I did but I’ll save that for another story.  I eventually climbed up the ranks to a great six figure sales opportunity. When I think about my current opportunity, I think DAMNN, you lucked out girl. This was a true hustle.

Other things happened in my life that I felt was totally not the norm, like getting pregnant at 23 and having a gunshot wedding to my college boyfriend who dropped out of undergrad.  Without a plan in sight, I’m sure it looked like our lives were about to crash land into loser land.  But K and I hustled like a dream team and made it work. Now people are looking at us like the power couple that got it all done before 30.

And if you told 20 year old version of me that I would be killing it at 29, I would have called you a liar. But we really did it and worked hard for the life we have now.

I think the moral of this story is more like:

Don’t be afraid to do you. Follow your gut and take risks. You’re not going to win at every single risk you take but at least you’ll have the experience and learn from it.

People who don’t take risks have nothing to lose but also nothing to gain. That’s the truth. The people in my life who played it safe are now wondering, “why isn’t life happening for them?” I just want to shake them and say, “because you did nothing to make it happen.”

I want to inspire everyone who’s reading this to think about the one thing you always wanted to pursue and then make a plan to create that reality in your life. Life and success doesn’t happen to lucky people but rather people who go out and make things happen. So the one thing I would recommend everyone focus on is to care LESS about what other people think about them. Of course there’ll be people who don’t like you or try to put you down. Those people are the minority and if you’re making people upset, that just means you’re doing something right.

I hope my story was one that inspired you! Please like, share and follow!

Check out my other posts too!

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Developing Personal Style: The Manly Edition

I’ve always loved the idea of a stylish man. GQ men and James Bond always come to mind for me. There’s something very attractive about a man that can dress well and as some might say, a “Je ne sais quois,” that makes a man irresistible. I pondered these questions for myself and wondered why I found certain qualities attractive.

My husband, K, did not have personal style in terms of clothes or possessions when I met him but he had a bit of swag and charisma. I wrote post on charisma not too long ago and it definitely helps you put your personal style to life but personal style is different.  It’s how you present yourself to the world, what’s on the outside as opposed to what’s on the inside.

Like I mentioned, K really didn’t have much in terms of personal style. He always wore the same shirts until they got pilly fuzz on them and started to curl at the bottom from being over dried too many times. He also always wore the same shoes until they started to wear through and look retro. And honestly, he didn’t really have a good reason to look put together; we were in our late teens when we met and barely getting by as young adults. Nevertheless, he would come dressed to impress whenever we had to go out to dinner or an event to go to.   In return, it made me want to dress up and look good for him because why should he be the only one that looks good? ?? Over time he has developed his own style that fits his personality but also says success and confidence.

Here are some tips to help you look as good on the outside as you do on the inside:

A Quality Timepiece

I always notice if a man is wearing a watch and if you’re close enough to him, you can see the actual brand he’s wearing. Surprise, surprise women will look at your watch, notice, and make inferences about it. I’m not saying you should get the most expensive watch possible, but picking a watch that says a statement about who you are and will add to your personal style.

The Timex Weekender Watch is a classic.  It’s a nice casual timepiece you can wear when you’re out in a polo and shorts or more casual with t-shirts.  Its good for outdoors and is easy to replace if lost or broken.  Timex is the perfect brand if you want to stay under $50 for a watch.  The Weekender Watch here is under $30.

Weekender-Watch.jpg

I also recommend Guess watches if you want a flashier look for less.  Most of Guess’s watches fall between $75-200.  I find the Guess watches to be a more affordable option over the pricier brand Movado.

Just look at the two nearly identical options for gold toned watches.  The Guess watch is $100 while the Movado option is $1000.  There isn’t much of a difference and Guess watches are just as sophisticated as the higher end brands.

guess-gold-mens-diamond-accent-gold-tone-steel-bracelet-watch-42mm-u0416g2-product-0-626241412-normalmovado-esperanza-black-dial-men_s-watch-0607059

For a luxury brand, I would recommend Bulova, they are exceptionally good quality timepieces that are reasonably priced between $250-$600.  I have one of their women’s watches and I get constant compliments on mine.

I really love the Marine Star collection, This stainless Steel Chronograph watch is perfect for every day use since its waterproof.  I also love how the watch faces are on the larger side with plenty of chrome detail.

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A Nice Haircut:

K has beautiful thick hair. He also hates going to the barber. I don’t understand whyyy?? I love when his hair is freshly cut. Two months later his hair still looks good in an unkempt rugged sort of way? The point of this segment is to say your hair can say a lot about you. It says a lot about your grooming habits, whether you put time into your appearance or if you just let your mom cut your hair every 3 months.  Hair is the first thing people are going to notice about you so finding the right cut is important.

I’m not going to post any pictures of what I think good looking hair looks like, but to be honest, there are many different hair styles, cuts, and textures that are attractive.  Sexy beards are a thing too and some men have impressive beards that women turn their heads over.  So having a well maintained beard is also something to think about.  K, doesn’t really grow a great beard, though he tries.  His barber helps him maintain a nice goatee.  So talk to your barber, they know hair!

Suits

I think every man needs at least one nice suit. One that he can wear at a funeral, wedding or for a job interview. You always want to have one handy for an unexpected event, especially for an interview. Because you never know when you’ll have a great opportunity that requires you to dress your best. And between getting a fresh haircut and preparing for the opportunity, the last thing you want to spend your time on is a new suit with the right fitting. I love tailored slim fit suits. Dark blue is my favorite color, black tends to be too somber. The nice thing is suits can come in many different colors, textures and materials; so with plenty of options you can find one that fits and looks right for you. Suits tend to be expensive so you’ll probably need to start with just one and just maintain it with dry cleaning after every 2-3 wears depending on how soiled you feel like it gets. You don’t want to over wash or clean the fabric, because even with dry cleaning it can cause damage. In most department stores, you can get a good quality suit for $200-$300, especially during sales.

Surprisingly Amazon has a new program for clothes called PRIME WARDROBE,  I’m not really one for in person shopping and neither is my husband.  We usually just buy online and return by mail if we don’t like the fit.  It’s pretty easy.

Anyway, K had bought this Blue Tommy Hilfiger suit and look amazing in it for a wedding shower brunch we went to.  One of our friends had commented that he was always dressed so sharp for events.  Sometimes I feel like he goes over the top, even for simple or small outings.  But as he would put it, “You can be underdressed, but you can never be overdressed.”

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Getting Higher Quality Clothes:

I’m going to start this segment with a caveat, having expensive clothes will not help in making a man more attractive when he is out of shape or unkempt. I would say good grooming and good health are first attractors for women and for people in general. As for clothes, I’m not talking about brands and trends and all that. I’m talking about getting good quality timeless pieces that you can mix and match with other parts of your wardrobe to create a polished look. K used to shop at Express and Zumies and although their clothes were really trendy; they always felt out of style within a year. Getting good quality shoes, jeans, dress pants, dress shirts and jackets can really add to your style. I’m not saying to buy everything overnight but start with one piece then add another piece, then another as you’re able to afford it. As you buy more pieces, you can filter the lesser quality clothes out or just have a greater variety to wear.  My husband has recently gotten into Robert Graham dress shirts and Lucky Brand Jeans.  These pieces are a bit pricey ($150-$200 a piece) so we get them here and there, especially if we see any sales at the mall.

Tips for Maintaining Clothes

1. High Quality Jeans: Jeans overall don’t need to be washed a lot. Actually they should be washed on a need to basis in order to avoid fading and shrinkage. You can hand wash them in cold water and detergent for darks. Don’t wring them out to dry but rather ROLL as much water out of them. Hang them up to dry or tumble dry them with cold air.

2. Shoes: wearing the same shoes every day wears them much faster. You need to let them breath and to keep quality shoes for longer, so you’ll also need to expand your collection from one to at least 3-4 pairs of shoes for daily wear that you can rotate. You’ll also need one pair of dress shoes and a pair of seasonal shoes like sandals or boots. And this is to start, eventually you’ll expand further depending on your preferences.

3. Jackets and suits: require dry cleaning. You can spot wash areas heavily soiled areas like underarms and neck collars by soaking with water and a light detergent and scrubbing with a toothbrush, but anything other than that I wouldn’t recommend.

You don’t need to have the best wardrobe to get attention or get the best job, but your overall style will say so much about you!  They say first impressions are made within 30 seconds.  It’s important your style choices match who you are and what you’re trying to portray.  Most of all, personal style is a reflection of you.  It doesn’t come overnight but you want it to match the best version of you possible 🙂

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Check out my other posts:

Be Charismatic By Mastering Small Talk

What Does Your Body Language Say About You?

Be Charismatic & Master Small Talk

Be Charismatic & Master Small Talk
Be Charismatic & Master Small Talk

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“I wish I could talk to anyone about anything, I wish I could be charismatic and master small talk. I’m awkward and just can’t find a rhythm with people, I can’t seem to break the ice.”

This was me like 5 years ago. I couldn’t master small talk, talking to people was so hard. I’ve mentioned it a few times that I used to suffer from social anxiety and was awkward and shy. I was a person that really hated small talk. What I really wanted to do was get to the heart of the matter and talk about your dreams, disappointments and hopes. But that’s a little too deep for some people, as a matter of fact it’s too deep for most people, to the point where that kind of talk can be seen as rude and nosy. And it really didn’t help me learn to be charismatic. So being in the business of real estate I learned how to small talk and kind of enjoy it as a way to get to know people on a basic level.

Some of my favorite ice breakers have been:

1.Weather

Ah yes, weather is the most safest thing to talk about. It’s literally the most cliche small talking point but you can never offend anyone with weather. The weather is constantly changing so it’s definitely something to talk about. If it’s too cold and it’s suddenly a nice day, you can comment what a pleasant surprise the weather has been. If it’s unusually windy, you can joke about being blown away. You can expand and talk about how you love this weather or hate this weather and what you like to do during this time of year. Weather is by far the safest, easiest thing to talk about.

2. Holidays

In the US there are several major holidays including Christmas, New Years, 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. There are also more obscure holidays like Presidents Day, MLK day, Halloween, Mother’s and Fathers Day. Pretty much every month there’s some sort of holiday. You can always ask, “Any plans for ____ holiday?” This is an easy icebreaker for people that want to keep the conversation going at an even pace. “Are you going away, we’re planning to go to _____” “That sounds nice, I had a friend who went there last year and really enjoyed it as a vacation spot!” This will easily make you a master of small talk.

3. Compliments

I used to have the assumption that you should only compliment someone if you really mean it. Like really, really liked what someone was wearing or found something interesting. But that’s not really the case. In order to be charismatic, compliments can be a way of forming bonds and sharing an interest. The keys is to find something that you think is interesting about a person, a piece of jewelry, an article of clothing, a physical quality (like eyes, makeup or hair), or a non physical quality that you think stands out. I found that there is always something you can compliment someone on and it helps you to be charismatic. Some of my go to compliments that I found to be most genuine are: “Oh wow, I love that piece of jewelry. Where did you get it?” I’m always looking for a piece of fashion that stands out like a nice purse or shoes and I’ll usually compliment or ask where they got it. As a woman, I think it’s more socially acceptable for me to make these kind of compliments so I’ll do it to break the ice and strike conversation. For men, I try to accept whatever compliments they offer because it’s nice and a genuine effort to make conversation which can be hard for some of them. The type of compliments men should stick with, especially when complimenting the opposite gender, should be a non physical quality or an article of clothing. “That’s a unique pair of shoes, they look comfortable” or “I heard from so and so that you’re really interested in ______, that sounds interesting, how did you get into that?” Giving physical compliments from a man to a woman or even man to man can seem off color or even inappropriate.

4. General Non Political News

You can get creative with this and just talk about the happenings in your town, something you saw on Facebook that you thought was relevant or friendly gossip about what’s going on with family and friends. “Oh I heard so and so got married, I’m so happy for her! It’s been so long since we’ve got to chat!” Or “I heard that there was going to be so and so happening at that restaurant I love, it’s always such a great event!” Or “This reminds me of an article I saw on FB…”

I just want to make a side note since I get a lot of foreign readers from other parts of the world. They might be reading this right now and be like WTF? What’s the point of making pointless conversation? Why do Americans do this?

Well, to be honest, it’s more of a cultural thing. We generally like to bask in positive emotion rather then negative. When speaking with someone you have a very casual relation with we try to keep the conversation light and easy to avoid negative emotion. Imagine an acquaintance asks you, “How’s everything going John?” And you start telling them about your leaky roof and how you can’t find the finances to cover these costs. Well John, you just took the conversation deep left and made the other person uncomfortable because they’re going to realize you’re going through hardship and there is little they can do to help you through it. Negative emotion is easy to catch from other people and it doesn’t feel good.

Some of the most successful people I’ve met have masters of small talk and are able to converse in a way that puts others at ease, feels safe and positive, while at the same time expresses interest in the other person.

I spent so many years not really understanding the rules and use of small talk that I was keeping others from getting close to me in a way they felt comfortable and I was making other people uncomfortable by digging in too much too soon.

I hope this article was a useful introduction on how to be charismatic and how to master your small talk skills. Feel free to like, share and follow, I follow back!

Check out my other posts!
How To Be Charismatic & How To Be More Likable

Master Your Body Language & Gain Confidence In Yourself

How To Care Less & Not Care About What People Think