Subscribe to the MGMA Podcast Network ( wherever you listen to episodes.

MGMA Insights: Mastering the Fine Art of Small Talk with Debra Fine

Download MP3
In this episode of the MGMA Insights podcast, host Daniel Williams sits down with renowned small talk expert and author Deborah Fine to discuss her transformation from introverted engineer to communication skills coach. Debra shares her experiences developing her small talk skills and offers practical advice for effectively navigating social interactions in personal and professional settings. They also discuss updates to her book The Fine Art of Small Talk.

Key Takeaways: 
-Small talk is important for developing relationships both personally and professionally. It acts as an "appetizer" to get to know someone.
-People should assume the burden of making others comfortable in conversations by asking questions, showing interest, and finding common ground.
-Ask open-ended questions and be a good listener to avoid mundane small talk and truly learn about the other person.
-Gracefully exit boring conversations when needed by using strategies like mentioning the need to greet someone else.
-Be mindful of word choices to avoid putting one's foot in their mouth or bringing up sensitive topics inappropriately.
-Find ways to stay regularly connected with family and friends, even if just through brief daily check-ins like playing Wordle together.
-An updated edition of The Fine Art of Small Talk features two new chapters that cover political conversations and managing conversations around loss.

Sources and Resources:

MGMA Resources:
Let us know if there's a topic you want us to cover, an expert you would like us to interview, or if you'd like to appear on the member spotlight podcast. Email us at If you have a question for our senior advisor, Cristy Good, email

Today’s podcast is sponsored by RingCentral 
RingCentral brings staff, patients, and payers together with compliant cloud communications and a modern call center on any device. A free new ebook from RingCentral and MGMA focuses specifically on the payer-provider relationship. With all-too-familiar patient reviews, must-see statistics, and a transformative case study, this eBook illustrates how easily cloud communications can bring patients, providers, and payers together. Download your copy at

Support for this podcast also comes from ilumed
ilumed helps Medicare providers practice better medicine so they can get paid in up to three ways. Whether you’re just starting your value-based-care journey or ready to take it to the next level, ilumed can help you do more for your patients while earning more. ilumed offers simple solutions for a complicated industry. Let’s heal healthcare together. Visit to learn more.
MGMA Insights: Mastering the Fine Art of Small Talk with Debra Fine
Broadcast by