EDMONTON -- Whether it's a work event or a house party, small talk is a skill that everyone needs.

Communications expert Lauren Sergy has advice on how to shine and avoid stress at any gathering.

"Keep it light," Sergy said on CTV Morning Live Edmonton. "The secret to small talk is keeping it simple."

She suggests chatting about the weather, sports and things that people can all weigh in on like how much of your holiday shopping is left to do this year.

"I firmly believe that anything that you can mutually complain about is a really, really solid start. It's a bonding moment," Sergy said.

Her number one tip: avoid controversial topics.