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.

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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