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How small talk can help your Notary business

Two people having a conversation

Updated 1-30-24. The foundation for great customer service begins with the first interaction. Wherever the notarization takes place — in a home, a coffee shop or your office — it is important to make signers feel comfortable, and that begins with the first snippets of conversation.

Many notarizations involve important, even life-altering transactions for your signers.

If you make a connection with the signer — whether it is commenting on house décor, pets, or asking about their day — you’ll be on your way to gaining their trust.

People remember how you made them feel. If you are personable during the first meeting, people will come back for your Notary business and refer your work to others because they trust the work that you do.

“I have heard numerous times from referrals that it was my interaction with their friend or family member that led them to call me rather than head over to the nearest FedEx store,” Notary Zoanne Kulhman of Santa Rosa, California, wrote on our Facebook page.

She makes it a habit to engage in friendly, personable chit-chat with all her clients.

A Notary and retired bank manager from Whiting, New Jersey, John Keegan said you should keep your small talk simple. “You should never ask questions that invade their personal lives,” said Keegan.

Keegan always thanked clients for allowing him to help. He also reminded them that he was a phone call away if other questions should come up. “I never had a problem with anybody saying ‘we’re not going to sign’ or ‘that was an inappropriate question’,” said Keegan. His interactions were about keeping relationships with clients and providing the best customer service he could.

Amanda Camacho from Citrus Heights, California, a Notary since 2005 focusing on estate planning and family law, recognizes that she is a stranger in the homes of her clients, and uses small talk as a customer service tool because it helps put clients at ease.

“The art of small talk is learning which direction your client is taking the conversation,” Camacho said. If small talk veers onto an uncomfortable, offensive or controversial topic, “I will redirect the conversation in a different way,” she said. “But you have to be understanding because not everyone holds the same views.”

Although small talk may not be needed for all signings, providing clients with great customer service is still important because it sticks in people’s minds. If you are personable during the first meeting, people will come back for your business and refer your work to others.    

Advice on small talk from fellow Notaries

A little bit of small talk in the beginning puts everybody at ease and makes for a comfortable friendly setting. This makes any Notary job, whether in the hospital or as a signing agent, go smoothly. It also helps determine the competency and mood of the signer. We’re not talking about a half-an-hour-long chat, but getting to know each other and finding a common ground is a way of establishing trust. It’s all about business.” —​ Julie B.

Having been in sales most of my life, sharing some interesting bits of info about me or small jokes puts people at ease and allows them to trust me which is important as they sign official papers. I do it even if they don’t seem friendly at the time and it does help to relax them. I usually find something in common with them. It’s part of sales.” —​ Jerry W.

Making ‘small talk’ isn’t small at all. It is what humanizes you to the borrowers and helps them to feel at ease with you being in their home. In particular, I always mention my pets so that if they have animals that they are afraid I might find annoying I can convince them that it’s not going to be a problem and helps them to pay more attention to the signing and less to the cat in my lap or the dog on my feet.” —​​ Kathleen P.


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22 Sep 2014

most companies advise against small talk. I have always disagreed with this theory and feel it is necessary to make people feel like they can trust you with a little insight as to the type of person you are. After all we are gathering very confidential information about them and leaving with that information.

John McCoy

23 Sep 2014

"small talk or not?" During the first "hello" you can usually tell if the people want to small talk or not. I have found that affluent, professionals avoid small talk. Blue collar and older folks enjoy a little chat; even promote it.

Mary Donahue

06 Dec 2014

Do not offer your opinion on the decor or anything else of a personal nature. Let the signer(s) take the lead in directing the conversation. Most people want to complete the signing and get on with their lives. Be friendly but brief. You are not there to entertain.


06 Oct 2017

I agree. But, I keep it to a minimum to establish rapport. Time spent at the closing table is precious....

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