Five Great Questions to Deepen Small Talk

Small talk—the very words paralyzes some.

Others have mastered it. Meeting new faces and striking up conversations is a part of life and VERY much a part of ministry life. Moving our conversations PAST small talk into deeper more meaningful and intimate relationships is a WHOLE ‘notha matter. 

“Working a room” may be a piece of what we do but we cannot, nor should not live off of that level of depth with people, both with those in our churches and those in our communities. 

Don’t settle for that.  


Leaders are intentional. Even with things that might appear to be natural or innate. 

We CAN learn how to move conversations forward past the purely superficial. We CAN go deeper than merely chitchat. How? 

By being genuinely interested. 

You can find some version of this quote online for leadership and business cultures: “We should focus on being interested, not interesting.” Which translates well to ministry life. Do not concern yourself with appearing interesting BE interested. 

Would you like some tips? Especially if small talk is laborious and not innate to you these questions recently posted by Sandra Peoples, a ministry wife, can help you show genuine interest in others.

1. When did you realize … (you wanted to marry her? you had found the right job? it was time to move on?)

2. How did you feel when … (you went through that trial together? you heard he had gotten into that school? you realized everyone was safe?)

3. What did you learn from … (the job you just left? the book you read? having dinner at your grandma’s every Sunday night?)

4. Who helped you … (feel comfortable at that church? realize your gift for teaching? learn how to make that dessert?)

5. Why did you … (make that change? want to go back there? decide they would be your favorite team?)

Sandra’s questions help us go deeper. We learn facts with small talk. We learn the soul with caring, interested probing.

  • Be intentional    
  • Be interested 

And see if doors of depth and intimacy begin to open more freely.  

Published January 31, 2014