Dan Erwin: Feedback

I’ve Actually Been Paid to Teach People How to Do Small Talk

You’d think it was a waste of time and money if, that is, you didn’t know who paid me to learn how to do small talk. There were fifteen to twenty out of my nearly five-hundred one-on-one executive coaching contracts. Those who paid for my services were at least vice-president level in huge (multi-billion dollar) international companies. It was never an ordinary manager. In fact, several who contracted for my services were C-Suite executives.

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So why were the small talk clients all C-Suite execs and vice-presidents? The answer was the same for every single one of these clients. They were high achievers. They really knew their business and they’d focused every working day on their business discipline and its demands.

But now they needed to know how to do small talk because of their role as company representatives to community and neighborhood charities as well as national and international charities. Since involvement was important to their firm, they were expected, as executives, to attend as company representatives. Most of them didn’t know how to talk about anything except their business, so they were tongue-tied in their new role. They were embarrassed to talk about their problem in the firm, so an external consultant was the way to go. And I just happened to be available—or one of their close friends recommended me.

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