All those debating and 'Best Delegate' crests you're stocking your shelves with are no match against twenty minutes in a room packed with faces you see twice a year. Suddenly speaking becomes the toughest task in the world. Since our phones pick the perfect time to run out of battery life, and you can only pretend to scrutinise the bare wall for so long, the art of making small talk is one, one must master to survive.
An elevator does not necessarily give you the luxury of time to conduct insightful conversations about Britney Spear's downfall or your thoughts on politics. You need to mind the conversation length. Elevator small talk is usually a simple greeting. With acquaintances, you can take it a step further and ask where they're headed or comment on their attire. But that's the limit. You can't ask open ended questions and put them in a situation where they'll be late for a meeting or slammed by the elevator door.
Once a year one random family member of yours will feel to urge to have every single one in the family under one roof in order to strengthen family bonds, create an opportunity to post pictures on Facebook captioned 'fambam' and create three hours of sheer awkwardness for you. This is a dawat filled with people who claim to be your second or third cousins, distant mamas, in laws of your in laws, with whom your parents expect you to have some sort of blood connection to find common ground over. The safest bet is to pick one family member you're certain everyone in the family hates and strike a conversation about them. Families that judge together, definitely stick together. If not you'll at least have a good flow of communication for half an hour. Just make sure said person of interest isn't their mom. It tends to get confusing with large families.
You're probably only attending the wedding for the biriyani or to show off your brand new lahenga and click some potential Instagram pictures. With that comes the downside of actually having to socialise. It's not that difficult to make small talk at a wedding. Compliment them on what they're wearing, ask where they got the dress from, hunt down cute guys together. Stretch the conversation till they serve the biriyani. You don't have to speak anymore when you've got your mouth stuffed with roast.
* When in doubt talk about the weather.
* It's easier to bond with people over mutual hatred than mutual interest. That way you can have an assured steady flow of conversation.
* People with ear phones on, looking at their mobiles are the universal 'Do not disturb' sign. Do not approach them, results won't be very fruitful.
* Do not bring up how awkward it is, that does nothing but heighten the awkwardness.
* If offered a choice, pick a toddler to communicate with rather than an adult. Adults expect sane, polite conversation. You can talk about the colour of your poop with a toddler.