Skip the Small Talk

Screw Small Talk

As a student at Northwestern University, Kalina Silverman performed a social experiment as a research project and ended up starting a global movement, called Big Talk.

Due to her own struggles in college and loneliness, Silverman wanted to be able to meet new people and skip the small talk, to have deeper conversations and make more meaningful connections with them instead. She began with a video series. She started by approaching strangers and skipping small talk to ask them the question: “What do you want to do before you die?”

Go For Big Talk

“I was surprised when people not only shared with me their deepest desires – but told me many moving life stories as well,” says Silverman. “Some of these conversations with initial strangers turned into friendships I still maintain today. Inspired by my experiences ‘making Big Talk,’ I wanted to share what I learned with others. So I edited the footage into a video I posted to YouTube.” After the video went viral and the Huffington Post and USA Today did stories, the Big Talk movement was born. I encourage you to watch Kalina Silverman’s TEDx talk on How To Skip The Small Talk And Connect With Anyone, which has close to 3 million views.

BIG TALK Is About Making More Meaningful Connections

Watching the Big Talk videos really made me think. I started thinking about how often we waste meaningful opportunities every day by making small talk. I thought about how many amazing moments and relationships we could be experiencing if we incorporated big talk more in our interactions with co-workers, Customers, friends, and even strangers. I recently had a manager’s retreat and we spent a significant amount of time discussing several Big Talk questions such as:

  • What do you want do before you die?
  • If you found out you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?
  • If you died today, what would have been your biggest regret?
  • What achievement from your childhood are you most proud of?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • Who do/did you respect the most in life & why?
  • If you could change one thing in your life right now what would it be?
  • What was the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?

Many of the answers were surprising. Several people got emotional. Most of all we found out a lot more about each other, even though many of us have known each other and worked closely together for more than ten years.

How Can You Use Big Talk?

Think about how you can use Big Talk more in your own life, as a business leader with your team members, Customers and vendors. Also, think about how you can use it in your personal life with your significant other, children, friends, and even your Uber driver. You may be shocked at the deeper conversations and connections you will enjoy.

We Are Just Tourists

“The sooner each of us realize we are just tourists on earth, we will live more in the moment
We are just temporary visitors here and our passports can expire at any time.

Nothing is guaranteed, our time, our kid’s time, no one’s time. It isn’t about what is fair or unfair. If we focus on today and stop wasting the time we have with others as if it were unlimited, we will have so much less regret. Carpe Momento.”

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.

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