Sometimes, Small Talk is Necessary

As a young woman, finding sources of guidance and information can be difficult. Everyone tells you to find a mentor or cold call a prospective mentor and set up lunch at a trendy restaurant. While having a mentor is reccommended and beneficial, engaging in conversation and asking those around you the right questions can also be very valuable. Rather than simply waiting year after year for a mentor to take you under her wing, get to know those you interact with everyday and you may be surprised at the information you glean from them.

For example,

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maybe you always study at a coffee shop in your neighborhood and you always see the same people. You can choose to not say anything to the people you see everyday and keep to yourself while sipping on your latte, or you can get to know those people through small talk. Asking someone their name or simply chatting about the weather can lead to bigger conversations that then lead to meaningful connections. If you make it a point to engage and talk to the barista who makes your extra-foam latte everyday, then maybe, you learn that the barista is the daughter of the coffee shop owner. And, the coffee shop owner owns five other coffee shops and agrees to give you advice on starting and maintaining a successful business because you told her daughter that you are interested in earning a business degree.

A few small conversations here and there can go a long way, and if you make it a point to gather information from all sources, and ask questions when you meet people, then you will end up with a wide network of people who don’t mind passing along their experiences and knowledge.

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