Small talk is a big deal.
When it’s done right small talk can help create a golden workplace culture where people feel safe, secure, and at home. And a well-oiled, open workplace where people are free to engage with each other means that people get more work done and are happier about it. So it’s not just because small talk is a fundamental aspect of any office dynamic – good small talk is simply good for business.
But the art of small talk is just that – an art. For some people small talk questions and social interactions flow easily and naturally but for others… not so much. For some it’s a nightmare fraught with awkwardness, long pauses, stuttering, and jokes that don’t exactly land very well. So let’s take a look at some pointers you can use to help make everyday chat with coworkers a bit easier.
How to start a conversation…
For many people this is where it gets hard… Do you talk about the weekend, what they’re wearing, about yourself, or nothing at all? There’s always something to do at work but turning the brief moments that you have free to build rapport takes a lot of finesse. So what gets conversation flowing? In truth there are so many factors that ebb and flow but fundamentally there are a few things you should ALWAYS be doing…
This is just basic respect for starters but also let’s the person you’re talking or listening to know that you’re fully engaged. Whether it’s a full-blown deep and meaningful conversation or just light chit chatting in the lunch room – eye contact creates trust and shows you care.
Ask open-ended questions
These are questions that cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. These help propel conversation and force the person you’re talking to to really think about what they’re going to say.
It’s best to keep conversation topics light-hearted otherwise you run the risk of making your coworkers feel uncomfortable. Things like politics and anything hyper-personal could be seen as oversharing and inappropriate. So try and keep things friendly by creating polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters.
Making sure your coworkers actually feel heard requires that you actively listen… This sounds like common sense but many people don’t do it. It means that you respond, reflect, and retain what the other person is saying. And is vital if you want the other person to feel heard and trust you.
In order to create a space at work that lends itself to the free passage of information and positivity in social situations – you need to be nice. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak your mind or voice your opinion, but it does mean saying it with respect.
Master Small Talk in The Workplace
So be polite, maintain eye contact, listen actively, ask an open ended question, and pay attention to how you’re making people feel. This is essential to creating a work life you, and everyone else, wants to be a part of.
How Pronunciation School Can Help
Pronunciation School has helped tens of thousands of people become more confident and comfortable speaking in and out of the workplace. With our speech and confidence classes, we can help you dramatically improve your speaking style, and express yourself fluently and effectively.