But it's not just getting in front of the class and making a presentation that students should practice. According to a new article in Psychology Today, simply being able to chit-chat properly might hold the key to success.
I've discovered over my many years as a professor that young people can be alarmingly bad at carrying a simple conversation. Sometimes at lunch, or in the hallways, or in between classes, I will strike up a chat with a student about a random topic and it quickly dissolves into staring at the floor, incomprehensible "umms" or excessive "likes," and little understanding of how to keep a conversation moving forward. Many people today are hurting their potential to connect with others because they simply can't talk in the most basic situations. Being able to hold your own in an elevator, at a cocktail party, at a work function, in a group of mixed friends, or elsewhere can be vital for future prospects.
When I started playing a lot of golf, I had to learn that when I showed up to the course, there would be a strong likelihood that I would be paired up with strangers for the next four hours. That can be a weird and intimidating spot. But just being a lighthearted and interesting conversationalist can do wonders for your enjoyment. A friend of mine, who is an excellent player and almost daily hosts important clients on elite courses, has repeatedly said, "I don't care if you are a terrible player. I just don't want you to be a terrible person to play with." Asking tons of questions, being a little self-deprecating, politely laughing at others' jokes, and having a well-rounded knowledge of diverse topics can improve nearly any situation. And you never know what business opportunities or interesting people you may encounter along the way.
Take a look at the article, and practice being more casually personable. You never know what opportunities lie ahead if you can master the art of chit-chat.