The Fine Art of Small Talk Review – How to Small Talk The Right Way

This The Fine Art of Small Talk review aims to help you know what to expect from the book The Fine Art of Small Talk and whether it is worth the purchase. Read on.

I’m a shy person.

The kind that is socially anxious whenever there are people around me.

I bought The Fine Art of Small Talk with hopes that it would ‘cure’ my shyness and help me to talk more with others.

What happened after I read it is another story.

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Small talking for beginners

The Fine Art of Small Talk is a book by Debra Fine. Notice the pun in the book title? Good job, Debra.

Anyway, Debra said in her book that she was once a shy person, and after overcoming that and harnessing the power of small talk, she had reaped a lot of benefits from it. Now, she holds her own Small Talk Workshop.

You can visit her website here.

In the book, you will be guided by Debra on how to small talk and improving other aspects of engaging in a conversation. There are 16 chapters and I’ll show you what’s the content in each of it:-

Chapter 1: What’s the Big Deal About Small Talk

  • Importance of small talk in your life

Chapter 2: Get Over Your Mum’s Good Intentions

  • Why you shouldn’t follow the idea that ‘silence is golden’ blindly
  • Small talk is okay in safe situations
  • It’s your responsibility to carry on a conversation

Chapter 3: Take The Plunge: Start a Conversation!

  • Exactly what the title says: learn how to start a conversation

Chapter 4: Keep the Conversation Going!

  • A continuation of the previous chapter with more tips on how to start a conversation

Chapter 5: Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About

  • Learn the concept of digging deeper that is asking open-ended questions
  • Learn how to find ideas on what to talk about

Chapter 6: Hearing Aids and Listening Devices

  • How to listen actively
  • How to interpret verbal and visual cues
  • How to show to your conversation partner that you are listening

Chapter 7: Prevent Pregnant Pauses with Preparation

  • Learn how to prepare before any event so you wouldn’t suffer when a conversation halts

Chapter 8: Conversational Clout

  • Learn how to be more assertive when talking

Chapter 9: Crimes and Misdemeanours

  • Identify notorious conversationalist such as The Monopolizer and The FBI Agent, and learn how to handle them

Chapter 10: The Graceful Exit

  • How to exit from any conversation

Chapter 11: The Conversational Ball Is in Your Court

  • Fifty ways to fuel of conversation

Chapter 12: Make the Most of Networking Events!

  • How to network with others effectively

Chapter 13: Surviving the Singles Scene

  • How to go to a singles scene and benefit from it

Chapter 14: Feel-Good Factor

  • Learning how to make others feel good being with you is a worthwhile skill

Chapter 15: Holiday Part Savvy

  • Cheat sheets of questions you can use to start a conversation during te holidays

Chapter 16: Carpe Diem

  • Ending


In most of the chapters, Debra suggests some questions and conversation starters that you can use your conversations. I heard criticisms that the suggestions given by Debra is preposterous.

The ones who are preposterous are the critics themselves because they take the suggestions literally. If you decided to buy the book, learn to be creative and improvise the suggestions that are given in the book.

Other than that, if you are already a master of small talk, don’t buy this book with hope that you can improve your small talk skills because I think that you already know what needs to know about small talk. Better buy Debra’s other book, The Fine Art of the Big Talk, although it seems to be targeted for those who want to excel in the communications at their workplace.

This book is for the beginner ‘small talkers’.

After I read it: I haven’t overcome my shyness but I learn some good tips on how to have a good conversation with others.

Rule of thumb: This is a book about small talk and it’s intended for beginners. Period.


the fine art of small talk review
Any questions about The Fine Art of Small Talk? Ask me in the comment section.

Questions you might be asking about The Fine Art of Small Talk

1. What is the content of the book?

I have covered this above.

To repeat: it contains advice on how to start a small talk with others and develop better relationships with who you are talking with.


2. Does it deliver what it promises? WiIl it help me to learn how to small talk?


It will teach you how to small talk effectively.


3. Is it relevant for everyone?

If you are already a good conversationalist, you don’t need this book.

If you want to start learning how to talk to people especially to those you  meet for the first time, then the content in this book can help you to develop better relationship with that person. Aside from that, those who don’t have enough ideas on what to talk about can also benefit from this book.

For those who are shy, you can learn how to talk with others and avoid appearing too quiet by implementing what you learn from this book.

BUT it wouldn’t tell you exactly on how to overcome the social anxiety or fear of talking to others that most shy people have. The only advice on how to tackle shyness that I read in the book is to have courage and force yourself to talk. I don’t think that is a sound advice because it is too general. I recommend a different book if you want to tackle your social anxiety or shyness - Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques by Gillian Butler.


4. Is it easy to read?

Yup. No complains here.


5. How is the writing style of the writer?

It’s average.

It’s not bad; it’s only that I didn’t see anything outstanding about how Debra writes the book.


6. What do I like about it?

Its simplicity. No complex stuff and to the point writing.

You want to learn how to small talk and you will learn how to small talk; not that many filler contents in it.

I also appreciate the fact that there are many cheat sheets and suggestions of conversation starters in the book that I can use.


7. What do I dislike about it?

I think this is normal but many people, including Debra, assume that it is easy to overcome shyness.

I might be pessimistic here but I know that shyness is not easy to overcome. Courage might help people to overcome shyness but not many shy people have the willpower and push they need to be courageous.


My recommendations

I recommend The Fine Art of Small Talk if…

  • You want to have better conversations with others and develop deeper relationships
  • You want to know how to carry on conversations without relying on your conversation partners
  • You want to learn how to start a conversation with anyone through small talk

I don’t recommend The FIne Art of Small Talk if…


Thank you for reading my The Fine Art of Small Talk review

Learning how to small talk is a worthwhile effort. In the book The Millionaire Mind, the writer said that millionaires have good social skills.

I’m saying that you need to be a millionaire but if you want to succeed in life, improving your social skills is a great way to achieve that.



If you are interested, you can buy The Fine Art of Small Talk from Amazon.

If you can’t purchase from Amazon, you can buy it from Book Depository which provides free shipping worldwide. Just click the purple button below.
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Be sure to check my affiliate disclaimer before you purchase anything due to clicking through the links in this post. I like to keep myself transparent on what I am doing so no secrets here.

A question for you: Do you think that my The Fine Art of Small Talk review answered your questions about the book? If not, tell me about it.

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4 thoughts on “The Fine Art of Small Talk Review – How to Small Talk The Right Way

  1. Ludvig Sunström

    How much have you been reading lately?

    >Small talk is a skill and needs to be practised

    – So true… Making small talk with people is really a bore at times though. I wonder how the Englishmen and Americans can like it so much.

    >Put in the effort to remember people’s names

    — If there ever was an 80/20 trick to charisma, this would be it!

    Btw, what does the book say about “exiting conversations smoothly”?

    1. Wan Muhammad Zulfikri Wan Yusoff


      Let’s say you met a boring person and you want to stop talking with him.

      Think about a valid reason and say to him something like “Sorry, but I need to meet the chairman of company X. It’s nice talking with you.” Ask for that person’s contact details too.

      Then this is the most important one: do the thing that you said you are going to do. If that person by chance found out that instead of meeting that company X chairman, you are flirting with a hot babe, then you’re toast!

      Who knows if that person is angry, he would feel cheated and punch you in the face…or at least punch your credibility by talking about how shitty you are to others. And that’s certainly a bad exit.

      Anyhow, for your first question, most of the books I have reviewed are the ones that I had read when I was in high school. I know the contents already it’s only that I need to reread it.

      Thanks for the comment Ludvig.

        1. Wan Muhammad Zulfikri Wan Yusoff

          Haha Glad you understood it.

          I think it is just common sense that we need to be honest in everything that we do.


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