Sales tips for the aspiring rock star!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Play #18.5 Mastering Small Talk!

There's a famous story about Dale Carnegie where he was attending a dinner party and struck up a conversation with a Botanist (no offense, but not my definition of good times) They talked for hours and he asked the Botanist question after question and the Botanist told Dale everything he ever wanted to know about the fascinating world of Botany (said with Castain's highest level of sarcasm)
At the end of the conversation the Botanist had all kinds of nice things to say about Dale and ended his kind words by saying he was a great conversationalist. Dale mentions in How To Win Friends and Influence People that he found that hard to believe since he hardly spoke a word.

Rocket science? I think not.

Today's Reflection: Give thought to how you can show a genuine interest in those you meet. Ask meaningful questions that put the spotlight on the other party. Shut and up and listen. Lose your agenda. Stop trying to one up the other person. Let them be the star!

I would suggest reading The Fine Art Of Small Talk by Debra Fine for some great tips on how to have that conversation and rise to the status of the elite "Great Conversationalists"!
Here’s an audio interview with the author. She shares some great tips that will help you.

Here’s a whole page of Debra Fine Podcasts.

This should keep you all out of trouble for a bit!

Get out of your comfort zone today. Do something that scares the shit out of you!

Love ya, mean it
Uncle Paul
Subscribe to Paul Castain's Sales Playbook by Email


  1. I'm guilty of "one upping" in my conversations. I'm gonna give this a shot.


    Warren L

  2. As always, this is good stuff. I have already noted this Debra Fine book along with Never Eat Alone. I'm going to have some homework to do soon! As if being in school and workking both full time isn't enough! Thanks for the wise words, Uncle Paul!

  3. @ Warren L I too have been guilty of that one. I offer it as advice from someone still struggling with it. Thanks for checking in.

    @ Bernadette: Thanks for your comment. I give you lots of credit for balancing the numerous things you do. Its very inspiring to see that you make the time to keep learning and growing.

  4. Good info Uncle Paul. This is common sense but I can definitely see how people may try to one up someone else in a conversation. Thank goodness I've been through your training and knew not to do so!

  5. @Nikki
    All of this stuff is common sense but not commonly practiced. I think the disconnect on the networking thing lies in trying to get our message to the recipient. At the same time they are doing the same with us. I've found that simply making it about them, makes them want to know about me. And yes, there are quite a few people that won't reciprocate. I'll give the relationship some time and if its still the case, I drop the bastard :)

    I'm glad you went through my training too. You brought a ton of value to the class!

    Rock on!


  6. Great comments and I agree. In a previous blog, Paul was talking about public speaking, and he imagined that he was in his kitchen talking to another person when he was giving public talks.

    For me, the same applies to networking and meeting new folks. When networking, I like to be grounded, relaxed, (like when your in your kitchen) and make extraordinary eye-contact. I also like to repeat back at least one the the other person says, to demonstrate good listening skills.

    Troy Davis
    The Sales Association


Free Sales Tips By Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Shades to hide my true identity! :)

Join Our New Linkedin Group! Click On The Picture

Add Me

View Paul Castain's profile on LinkedIn


Castain Guarantee

Castain Guarantee

About Me

My photo
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

About This Blog

Paul Castain's Sales Play Book is blog dedicated to strengthening our sales game, supporting rock star development and developing jedi like skills. All that is required is a willingness to learn and a sick sense of humor!

Topics Discussed: sales, sales leadership, cold calling, networking, telemarketing, presentation skills, social networking, twitter, linkedin, facebook, google, technorati, digg, training, sales tips, SEO, job hunting, hiring, recruiting, best practices, pipeline management, CRM, goals, time management, motivational, inspirational, social media, online marketing, ning, job openings, speakers, trainers, associations, blogs, bloggers, articles, sales management, onboarding, NLP, SPIN Selling, Unemployment, news, wordpress, dress for success, inside sales, call center,

Blog Archive


Add to Technorati Favorites


Sales Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory