Small Talk in the Workplace: How to Improve Your Conversational Skills

Small Talk in the Workplace: How to Improve Your Conversational Skills

Few employees actively enjoy small talk, and yet, it is necessary for getting ahead in the professional sphere. If you struggle to chat with your coworkers, these tips will untie your tongue:

Stop Thinking You’re Too Good For Small Talk

Many professionals believe they are above small talk. Ultimately, this attitude damages their ability to connect with others. No, small talk is not always fun, but it builds cohesion and is therefore important. The conversations you snub could ultimately hurt both you and the rest of your department.

Listen

It’s no secret that listening is an essential part of conversing, but many people are so wrapped up in planning what they’re going to say next, they never hear what the other person has to say. If you genuinely take in your coworker’s responses, you’ll come across as a kind and generous person — exactly the qualities you want to be known for in the workplace.

Think of a Few Fallback Options

Rehearsing your answers instead of listening is not advisable, but it’s also not wise to go into a conversation unprepared for the possibility of suddenly becoming tongue-tied. Instead, have a few fallback questions ready to go in case a conversation lulls and you find yourself out of ideas. The best questions are not obvious small talk ploys about the weather, but rather, queries about the other person’s goals and passions. These questions transition a conversation from mere small talk into a meaningful exchange of ideas.

Small talk does not have to merely involve discussing the weather or local sports teams — these topics are simply meant to break the ice. By expressing a genuine curiosity in your coworkers, you can take small talk to the next level and improve your workplace relationships.