Small talk doesn't have to be boring, especially if you add a dash of humor. Although small talk is usually about the weather, latest news or hit blockbusters, it can also involve silly observations made between new acquaintances. Humor helps people relax, so it is a natural fit when making small talk. You don't have to be a comedian to make your small talk funny -- there are easy ways to get a laugh when talking to someone new.
Poke Fun at Yourself
Humor directed at yourself helps break the ice with new people, says Diane Windingland, communications expert and author of the book "Small Talk, Big Results." Laugh at yourself, or get others to laugh at you, and the walls that separate you will come tumbling down. For example, if you are a little out of shape, say something like "The only exercise I get these days is from the couch to the fridge." Or if you are a bit nerdy, say "The best part of last weekend was when I alphabetized my stamp collection." Show that you don't take yourself too seriously -- not that you actually feel badly about yourself. When you exaggerate, you make it obvious that you are just joking.
Find Humor in the Situation
Small talk about the situation you're in can be a good source of humor, says Windingland -- find something funny about what you or the group is doing. For example, if you are taking a hot yoga class, say "It's so hot in here, even my sweat is sweating." If you are at the gym chatting and someone comments that you aren't getting much of a workout, say "I am doing lip exercises." Find something about the situation that is humorous or contradictory, and turn it into a joke.
Open With a Funny One-Liner
Funny one-liners are not just for trying to pick up dates; they can also be used to break the ice during small talk with new people. You might also introduce yourself with a funny quip. For example, if you work for the college newspaper, say "My name is Chris. I am the guy everyone is afraid to talk to, because their story might end up in my next article." One-liners are an easy way to break the ice and start making small talk.
Start a Comical Hypothetical
A "comical hypothetical" is outrageous scenario concocted in a group setting -- usually starting with the words "What if," according to Mark Peters in the Psychology Today article "Conversation: Wouldn't It Be Funny If..." For example, if you are sitting in the cafeteria, say "Wouldn't it be funny if they started serving us like a fine dining restaurant?" Someone else might pipe up with "They would bring out menus, put napkins in our laps and overcharge us for tiny portions of food." Another person might continue with "Imagine the dress code. I would have to eat in the hall."
- Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images