It may seem awkward sometimes, but small talk matters. It might be the difference between making a great first impression or no impression at all — whether at a networking event or a job interview. Small talk isn’t just commenting on the weather and the latest sporting events, and there’s actually an art to using it to your advantage.

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When it comes to professional small talk, a lot of it can happen at networking events, which can cause anxiety for anyone who doesn’t feel 100 percent comfortable connecting with new people.

“Talk, network, build a relationship,” says Rachel Weingarten, a Brooklyn-based author of “Career and Corporate Cool” and marketing strategist. “Think of it as a first episode for a new TV show. Not all is revealed, but enough is shared to pique someone’s interest. Unlike a job interview where your future career could be determined, all that a networking event determines is whether you’ve made enough of an impression to warrant another conversation.”

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