One of the first lessons the elite teach their youth is that there is no such thing as "small talk." Every conversation had an agenda, often a big one. So new members of the tribe are trained to converse with poise and purpose. They should be relaxed and confident in so-called small talk in order to not tip off how much they are in control.
We lesser mortals usually learn of that reality the hard way. Through the grapevine we hear that we weren't admitted to the club or hired for the assignment or job because of what we said and the tone we said it in during supposedly casual conversation.
An example? The interviewer asks how the traffic was. We complain, a bit too intensely. The message we transmit is that we are a whiner and can get irritated easily.
How to become habitually strategic in all conversations? Accept that we humans are social creatures. Therefore what counts perhaps more than wealth and job title is how we present ourselves in small talk.