Small Talk Topics

A List of Popular Small Talk Topics and How to Prepare for Them

Small talk is light conversation between people who don't know each other well. For people with social anxiety disorder (SAD), making small talk can be anxiety-provoking. One good way to alleviate anxiety is to prepare for the types of topics that are likely to come up during small talk. Below is a list of small talk topics and how to prepare for them.


Women relaxing together with tea
Cultura/Frank van Delft/Riser/Getty Images

Although talking about the weather may seem mundane, it is a good neutral topic that everyone can discuss. Perhaps a big storm just blew through or maybe there is a heatwave. Look no further than outside your door for some good conversation openers. 

Below are some ideas:

  • Lovely day, don't you think?
  • Looks like rain is in the forecast.
  • Did you order this beautiful weather?

Arts and Entertainment

Keep up with recent movies to have something to talk about.
Movies are always a hot topic during small talk. Getty / Heath Korvola

Arts and entertainment topics include such things as

  • the latest movies and television shows
  • popular restaurants
  • popular music
  • books

To prepare for these topics, brush up on what is popular and make a point of having a book on the go at all times.


Sports is often a way for strangers to connect.
Sports enthusiasts will love to chat about their favorite teams. Getty / Mark Stahl

Sports topics can include such topics as

  • favorite teams
  • sporting events 
  • tournaments 
  • bowl games

Even if you don't like sports, you can talk about why you don't like them.

Keep track of what sports are played during which seasons, such as football, soccer, hockey, and golf, so that you can be ready to talk about them. When the Olympics are on, you can be sure everyone will be buzzing about it. 


Read or watch the news to keep up with current events.
Current news is often good fodder for small talk. Getty / Zero Creatives

A great way to prepare for small talk is to read the news everyday. Be aware of what is going on in the world and in your city. While paper newspapers are going out of style, digital news either directly from news sources or fed through social media have become popular ways of keeping current. 

Below are some ideas:

  • Did you hear about the dognapping downtown?
  • What do you think about the teachers going on strike?
  • I read on a news feed that a transit fare hike is in the works.


Ask about a person's family to get to know him better.
Most people love to talk about their families. Getty / Simon Ritzmann

People are likely to ask you about your family.

  • Do you have any brothers or sisters?
  • How long have you been married?
  • Do you have any children?

Be prepared for these types of questions and reciprocate by asking others about their families.


Work is a common topic during small talk.
Most people will want to know what you do for work. Getty / Hero Images

Another popular small talk topic is work. You may be asked what you do and whether you like your job. If you do something unusual that is hard to explain, consider keeping business cards in your wallet. This works particularly well if your company or job has a website that people can visit.

Some ideas for work-related small talk:

  • How long have you worked as an accountant?
  • Do you get weekends off?
  • Your job must keep you very busy?


Travel can be a great conversation topic.
Make small talk about your travels. Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

People like to hear about vacations. If you travel, be ready to answer questions and give your opinions about the places you have visited. Put together albums that you can show people who visit your home.

Ask others about their favorite travel spots and what they recommend. Most people like to help and will be happy to share their experiences. 

Celebrity Gossip

Celebrities are always a good source of gossip.
Harmless gossip can be a way to connect with a stranger. Getty / Caiaimage/Robert Daly

It isn't necessary to follow celebrity gossip to make small talk. However, it is a good idea to know a little bit about some of the most popular celebrities in case the topic comes up. 


Ask about a person's hobbies to learn what she loves to do in her spare time.
Hobbies are often passions that people like to share. Getty / Hero Images

People like to talk about their hobbies and are likely to be interested in yours. If you don't have any hobbies, consider trying something new. Not only will you have something to talk about, but having a hobby will give you a chance to meet others with similar interests. 


Some people are proud of their hometowns and like to talk about them.
A person's hometown can be source of pride. Getty / Brand New Images

You might be asked about your hometown.

  • How is it different from where you live now?
  • Why did you leave?

Ask others about their hometowns as well. You never know who might be from the same place as you and how you might begin forming a connection.


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