How To Skip the Small Talk and Connect With Anyone | Kalina Silverman | TEDxWestminsterCollege

  • Published: 15 February 2016
  • Kalina Silverman wanted to see what could happen if she approached strangers and skipped the small talk to have more meaningful conversations with them instead. She made a video documenting the experience. The stories she heard and the connections she made proved that there's power in taking the time to stop and ask people to reflect on the questions that truly matter in life.
    Since then, she has continued to work on expanding Big Talk into a movement that inspires and enables people to connect with one another on a deeper level.
    Learn more about it at and visit Kalina at
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Comments • 3 816

  • DJ Santiago
    DJ Santiago  5 일 전

    Society forgot how to communicate not long after social media became popular. Prior to that, meeting people & making new friends was naturally easy. These days people think friends are people they’ve added on facebook and need an app to find a partner.

    • superpilun
      superpilun  7 일 전

      The real lesson here is that people will watch attractive women drone on for 20 minutes about how asking "deep" questions is going to save humanity. Seeing as she is mixed, I can't help but wonder if the Asian parent forgot to tell her that the point of college is not to discover your identity. It's so you can get a degree, and then get a job.

      • supercal333
        supercal333  10 일 전

        This is naive. Launching straight into big talk with a stranger is easy for a pretty young female. Liked her idea of big talk with yourself.

        • Jimmy Freeman
          Jimmy Freeman  13 일 전

          She pretty.

          • Tong L
            Tong L  14 일 전

            Skip small talk, skip big talk, let’s go straight to connect.

            • heartbeat lover52
              heartbeat lover52  16 일 전

              you need to calm down your heart was so fast

              • Joseph Inman
                Joseph Inman  17 일 전

                I just try to show people I care, and they open up. Being honest and not trying to be impressive is great, but instead focusing energy on being funny or listening is fairly rewarding.

                • bain racing
                  bain racing  18 일 전

                  Wow her parents failed her!

                  • Me Me
                    Me Me  18 일 전

                    There is nothing different in the way you approached traveling. They wanted to get you drunk and inside your pants. This is a really bad TED Talk.

                    • LEE SOLID
                      LEE SOLID  19 일 전

                      Kalina Pretty

                      • Martin Critchfield
                        Martin Critchfield  19 일 전

                        Ask people personal questions in a context that you're holding a camera... it's a bit easier. This is... ok

                        • Doody Tco
                          Doody Tco  20 일 전

                          That affected me deeply, thank you ❤️

                          • Chris Superman
                            Chris Superman  20 일 전

                            This video is not helpful because a woman approaches men and perhaps some women. (1) Men are used to answer straight-forward and direct questions. Men enjoy when they are approached by cute looking women. (2) Even if Kalina (female) approaches other women, it makes a big difference. These women react differently to when a woman or man approaches them. If a woman approaches a woman, they feel more secure than a man approaching a woman. Here women use defense mechanism just as "I have a boyfriend" etc. to cut thr conversation short. (3) They are aware that they are filmed. Thus, the men behave differently.

                            • Knik B
                              Knik B  20 일 전

                              The quote was good.

                              • daniel monroe
                                daniel monroe  20 일 전

                                5minutes in and I'm done could have gone with out the life story.

                                • fishtherapy100
                                  fishtherapy100  21 일 전

                                  ....but women are only interested in themselves 🥺

                                  • EX MIUWU103
                                    EX MIUWU103  21 일 전

                                    Another question? Why not?

                                    • Juneid Walli
                                      Juneid Walli  21 일 전

                                      She reminds me of my ex 😅, not personality, just the way she was

                                      • Velsbasketcase
                                        Velsbasketcase  21 일 전

                                        Elliot Rodger was at that party trying to big talk with her and she snubbed him.

                                        • Kenworth Dreamer
                                          Kenworth Dreamer  21 일 전

                                          How’s sheeeee going teh’day? Good and you?

                                          • David Sharrock
                                            David Sharrock  22 일 전

                                            My God what an over priveleged self centred Cali girl. She got told her whole life she's awesome, goes to college (i.e. the real world) and ddiscovers she's not the centre of attention. No wonder she had an identity crisis. She doesn't have an identity. Now she thinks being a narcissist is an identity. Did someone at Ted give her this platform because they fancied her? Hey pretty Asian millenial girl, you're almost certainly reading this: you're seeing things through a filter which is very specific to cute post teen American college girls. You still don't have an identity and when you realize that you'll be back to square one. Tip: an identity isn't what other people think of you, it's not even what you think of you. Both are hugely subjective. An identity is the accumulative result of a) experience and b) how we make choice based on experience. Life is one endless experience and an endless stream of choice. You can't invent identity by watching Mad Men and asking profound questions of strangers. Identity is a result, heaped up and undeniable. Inescapable. The only thing keeping you from being happy is thinking you're alone? The only thing keeping you from being happy is dissatisfaction with the shallow puddle you've bought into when men tell you you have a cute smile, friends pretend you're awesome and mom and dad tell you you can be whatever you want to be. You got through that first year by (eventually) surrounding yourself with the same sycophants didn't you. Now you're seeking the same shallow approval. You'll be happy when you discard the atypical millenial delusion that likes on Facebook, good bone structure and an ability to be special are what make people happy. Is what Don Draper would probably say. Not me though. I think you're cute. Tell me more about your journal.

                                            • Storm Trooper
                                              Storm Trooper  22 일 전

                                              I will never read a diary of a college student thank you.

                                              • James Pardue
                                                James Pardue  23 일 전


                                                • Mashy
                                                  Mashy  23 일 전

                                                  "big talk" This is me naturally and most people find me way to serious and intense lol

                                                  • gina manriquez
                                                    gina manriquez  19 일 전

                                                    Mashy yes! Then you’re considered weird. Not thx

                                                    • Marty
                                                      Marty  23 일 전

                                                      i love everything about this. Thank you.

                                                      • Mahesa Rangga
                                                        Mahesa Rangga  23 일 전

                                                        I don't want to have small talk! I want to connect with you Kalina, as deep as we can..

                                                        • Matthew thehuman
                                                          Matthew thehuman  24 일 전

                                                          The instructions as I I understood them were, be beautiful and small talk, big talk etc. Will come as second nature. As a big apparently unattractive man, saying hi in my nicest voice is offensive and terrifying. So basically this advice only works for those who dont need it.

                                                          • HAZTEKK Music
                                                            HAZTEKK Music  24 일 전

                                                            Any half decent salesman can give better advice about building rapport with someone. If someone came up to me and asked me some random question like what do you want to do before you die I would try to get away as soon as possible. What? I don't know you why would I answer that?

                                                            • Timothy Fleming
                                                              Timothy Fleming  24 일 전

                                                              These University level Ted talks are always terrible

                                                              • manny g
                                                                manny g  25 일 전


                                                                • A. J
                                                                  A. J  25 일 전

                                                                  Wow. Kudos for her to get up and do a ted talk but ted has lowered the bar. I can say that....not trying to be mean. She was brave enough to do it and that means she made her content public and with that comes feedback. Does ted actually do an interview with these speakers beforehand and find out whether its going to be interesting? The topic good but she was very boring and I switched in the middle of it. Sorry but its true. May be with practice she be good. But this is now forever there for all to see even if she makes it big.

                                                                  • Jeremy Botto
                                                                    Jeremy Botto  25 일 전

                                                                    Wow, what a sad person and annoying speech. Terrible.

                                                                    • Jeremy Botto
                                                                      Jeremy Botto  25 일 전

                                                                      Question one... Get away from me. Second question... Hey, get away from me. Third question, shut up! Stop talking about yourself. Leave me alone.

                                                                      • Oscar Heron
                                                                        Oscar Heron  25 일 전

                                                                        Graduates know nothing about life experiences. Do a talk when you reach your 30s or 40s

                                                                        • Darius Jaeger
                                                                          Darius Jaeger  25 일 전

                                                                          Get the chance to live.

                                                                          • ands1983
                                                                            ands1983  26 일 전

                                                                            Title should be: The story of me and why I'm interesting. So much talk and so little content. Skip the video and ask people this question: What do you do when you are not at work? Then be sure to listen, ask questions about it and how it makes them feel. Then you get to learn a person. We are not what we do.

                                                                            • jl
                                                                              jl  27 일 전

                                                                              I can’t hear anymore , wish I was on the phone to tell her , “ I have to go now”

                                                                              • Nathan Bennett
                                                                                Nathan Bennett  27 일 전

                                                                                The first part of this talk is small talk. Sorry, found it boring. Not sorry

                                                                                • arms4dayz
                                                                                  arms4dayz  27 일 전

                                                                                  Omg I cannot go without saying this. You are so beautiful

                                                                                  • Wadim K
                                                                                    Wadim K  27 일 전

                                                                                    Is your party boring? Everybody take a shot, when you hear her say "and uuuhm"

                                                                                    • Jose Moreno
                                                                                      Jose Moreno  28 일 전

                                                                                      Make it stop...! Hey my name is Jose, wana go dutch for dinner cus I'm done with freeloading women that like free dinners. Is that a no? Oh so I guess you don't realy like to skip the small talk. By the way... small talk always gets me laid. Also is criptonite to people like you that wastes my time... good luck finding that rich sucker that you're going ro take all his money from.

                                                                                      • BPMoments
                                                                                        BPMoments  28 일 전


                                                                                        • tony theo
                                                                                          tony theo  28 일 전

                                                                                          It's literally her just saying a story, there's literally nothing educational in that speech.I was waiting for a punch line or something that never came. Disappointing 😔

                                                                                          • jack daniels
                                                                                            jack daniels  개월 전

                                                                                            It only works when filming

                                                                                            • Paul Son
                                                                                              Paul Son  개월 전

                                                                                              Everyone who says she isnt explaining it, you weren't listening. You're part of the problem. What makes you believe you arent capable of understanding the concept of "BigTalk"?

                                                                                              • Paul Son
                                                                                                Paul Son  개월 전

                                                                                                I'm going to try this

                                                                                                • No Name
                                                                                                  No Name  개월 전

                                                                                                  i bust out my thicc shlong at the club

                                                                                                  • Ashtro Johnson
                                                                                                    Ashtro Johnson  개월 전

                                                                                                    The part where you go to Ecuador to study education reform and end up drinking wine and salsa dancing all night at a mountain villa owned by Ecuadorian college professors is amusing. Pretty much sums up the disconnect between the overeducated liberal elite and the forgotten poor

                                                                                                    • Markus Childers
                                                                                                      Markus Childers  개월 전

                                                                                                      Bad TED Talk. Not showing any knowledge of effective communitcation which they are supposed to be educating us on.

                                                                                                      • Brett Pulley
                                                                                                        Brett Pulley  개월 전

                                                                                                        This was just her bragging about her life. Spoiled and unhelpful.

                                                                                                        • rlogan83
                                                                                                          rlogan83  개월 전

                                                                                                          I really wanted to like this and really trying to stay engaged and she never even went into the technique of how to engage in this BIG TALK, it was just interviews and bragging.

                                                                                                          • Dark_Architect1
                                                                                                            Dark_Architect1  개월 전

                                                                                                            I wish i had friends so they could think im happy.

                                                                                                            • Mr Georgio
                                                                                                              Mr Georgio  개월 전

                                                                                                              Next Up: Why small talk is the most important tool you can develop. TED Talk.

                                                                                                              • Vanguard1987
                                                                                                                Vanguard1987  개월 전

                                                                                                                I must have missed the lesson that was intimated in the subject of the video...?

                                                                                                                • Taunia Jane
                                                                                                                  Taunia Jane  개월 전


                                                                                                                  • Leslei Cruz
                                                                                                                    Leslei Cruz  개월 전

                                                                                                                    Personality, would be weird if any random person approach me asking something like that, I mean it's an interesting question but I would feel totally crazy asking someone I don't know well such thing hahaha that's just me. When I connect with someone usually happens naturally, and if that doesn't happen it's also ok.

                                                                                                                    • GEORGE ROMERO
                                                                                                                      GEORGE ROMERO  개월 전

                                                                                                                      An attractive young woman skips small talk and goes deep. Thinks it works for everyone else. Not so much.

                                                                                                                      • oldbark9
                                                                                                                        oldbark9  개월 전

                                                                                                                        She seems to into herself to make much "big talk".

                                                                                                                        • Charles Ritter
                                                                                                                          Charles Ritter  개월 전

                                                                                                                          I've never been interested in small talk. I always ask people what is their main passion in life shortly after meeting them.

                                                                                                                          • Wilfredo Carlos
                                                                                                                            Wilfredo Carlos  개월 전

                                                                                                                            This talk had a good title but the talk itself was really a disaster.

                                                                                                                            • Wilfredo Carlos
                                                                                                                              Wilfredo Carlos  개월 전

                                                                                                                              She talked about herself most of the time... it wasnt quite did this talk end up in ted.

                                                                                                                              • mpeugeot
                                                                                                                                mpeugeot  개월 전

                                                                                                                                She's so cute and clueless.

                                                                                                                                • Jarlo Jarlito
                                                                                                                                  Jarlo Jarlito  개월 전

                                                                                                                                  Or you can just think about the millions who go to bed on empty stomach.

                                                                                                                                  • Alexandra Mas Balmaña


                                                                                                                                    • Clive Lindley
                                                                                                                                      Clive Lindley  개월 전

                                                                                                                                      Truth is we have to be able to small talk and big talk in social situations..just prepare your small talk and make it interesting and enjoyable for yourself as well as others.

                                                                                                                                      • gL8qmCsDzBbWqwvx
                                                                                                                                        gL8qmCsDzBbWqwvx  개월 전

                                                                                                                                        Ok, so the way you skip small talk is to talk about yourself a lot, just like this presenter.

                                                                                                                                        • Sean Upton
                                                                                                                                          Sean Upton  개월 전

                                                                                                                                          She is spending far too long talking about her personal life. 20 mins? Nice 'Mad Men' promo though!

                                                                                                                                          • jason Allen
                                                                                                                                            jason Allen  개월 전

                                                                                                                                            Ugh, first world problems. How about asking those people who are struggling to survive.

                                                                                                                                            • Nicolas V
                                                                                                                                              Nicolas V  개월 전

                                                                                                                                              We make small talk as a way to verify if the person we're talking to is a weirdo or has bad intentions.

                                                                                                                                              • Kevin Fuk The Token Evil Teammate

                                                                                                                                                Do you really care about a persons well-being or your just being a giant nuisance?

                                                                                                                                                • jay panchal
                                                                                                                                                  jay panchal  개월 전

                                                                                                                                                  It’s amazing how back in the day talking was so natural as no one felt alone and normal and now it’s a big idea cause everyone feels alone in this day and age where work is more important then happiness and friendship and family! Where people only consider things to be rational only if it’s connected to work!

                                                                                                                                                  • stilltypical
                                                                                                                                                    stilltypical  개월 전

                                                                                                                                                    Not many 16 year olds watch ted talks like me , but teenagers will learn so much aboht life if they watch videos like these. The best ted talk ive ever watched

                                                                                                                                                    • i . a . m . i . v
                                                                                                                                                      i . a . m . i . v  개월 전

                                                                                                                                                      I don't know about y'all but I got a taste for some corn flakes, corn chips, corn on a cob, cornbread, corn syrup after listening to this 🌽

                                                                                                                                                      • Nicolas V
                                                                                                                                                        Nicolas V  개월 전

                                                                                                                                                        Uuuuuum what?

                                                                                                                                                        • sammz
                                                                                                                                                          sammz  개월 전

                                                                                                                                                          I don't think she knows that average to below average looking people can do this as the other person may feel uncomfortable...yep I tried

                                                                                                                                                          • Eric Boswell
                                                                                                                                                            Eric Boswell  개월 전

                                                                                                                                                            I struggle with small talk..I guess because I dont u understand social niceties? My conversations are usually Big Talk... I think these questions are good for really ice breaking and getting to really know someone..Good video...

                                                                                                                                                            • Steve Bilokin
                                                                                                                                                              Steve Bilokin  개월 전

                                                                                                                                                              Kalina I was just having this conversation with someone today about useless "small talk"! What a universe! thank you for YOU :-)