Looking back I perhaps first mentioned the minefield of Front Talk in 2008. Having then learned the most fertile trio for common ground.
This month, I read that four minutes of small talk can better facilitate workplace collaboration. In a round-about sort of way. Four minutes feels quite a long while, mind.
When done 'well', it seems that effective small talk can, according to a Warwick Uni Prof, work wonders;
"In even a few minutes we will start to form a mental model of the person we are talking with: are they extroverted or introverted, do they seem upbeat or downbeat, cooperative or uncooperative? These sorts of impressions won’t be perfect, but they will be useful."
On the basis that Front Talk is specifically the small talk that takes place at the very beginning of typically a first meeting, it holds a deceptively pivotal role.
Vital First impressions and all that.
Yet these three continuums sound instructive.
In the two-way joust, both parties size each other up. Even if they don't consciously realise so.
Extrovert-introvert may prove the one with least Sales chime. Although let's not forget the ambiverts. Yet this could be tweaked for our purposes. Something like guarded to unguarded? Which could even expand to open-closed? Usefully applying from both viewpoints.
Upbeat-downbeat reminds me of the classic Miller-Heiman buyer response modes. Whilst not such a scale, you can have Confident down to Trouble. (Growth & Even Keel among the middle ground.)
Cooperative-uncooperative is also relatively clearcut. We would gravitate towards those with whom we could collaborate. Not be stitched up behind our backs by. More transparent than opaque.
Through each of these three though, should we know the type of prospect personality for whom buying off us is most attractive (and we should), then it stands to reason - given the above's study findings akin to 'better small talk leads to better performance' - that we could model the optimum routine for helping front talk 'work'.
What can we say that engenders replies which give light to these desired traits we seek to partner with?
Let's add a fourth.
Most solution sellers are pitching something that leads to a 'change'. So how about also gauging propensity to change. We might even use the Bass curving of Innovator to Imitator.
You could even add in a splash related to generalist-specialist, or judge on a scale of topic expertise.
For many stellar sellers, such small talk appears effortless. Yet with a little careful planning, such state can be simulated.
Even if talking of the weather (an English obsession).
Is it true people work 'best' at 19°?
Great weather for ducks, right...
We could work in a different way, maybe?
There's gotta be a recent gizmo for this?
You'll doubtless know better to get safely to the elements that matter.
And all the while heeding the one piece of small talk advice which does resonate for results to flow; 'be genuinely curious'.