Culture & Lifestyle / Learning The Art of Small Talk At Work

Learning The Art of Small Talk At Work

Culture & Lifestyle Oct 09, 2014


Networking Can Be Difficult Especially When It Comes To Forging A Work Connection, But There Is An Art To It, And It Can Be Mastered

Hank Hunes, owner of Small Talk Vineyards Owner, says, “Small talk is an art. It isn’t a skill that people are born with, but it can be mastered. Small talk is the starting point of all relationships and whether you are at a friend’s wine tasting party or a networking event it is an important starting point for everyone.”

Here are some useful tips to help you navigate through any conversation at work successfully:

Avoid Any Controversial Topic

When you meet strangers, you have an opportunity to create your first impression- which sometimes can be your last impression. As a result, the way you present yourself, talk and communicate; you're hand gestures, and the topics you choose as icebreakers, are significant in generating productive small talk.

So first things first, simply stay away from topics that can cause your acquaintance to raise their eyebrows. Don Gabor, author of Talking with Confidence For the Painfully Shy, suggests topics you should avoid, “Personal, health and financial problems, divorce and death, layoffs, world problems such as terrorism and crime, emotionally charged issues such as abortion, capital punishment, welfare, and sex, politics, and religion.”

These topics will generate an uncomfortable atmosphere and lead to the end of a conversation, or potential future business deal.

Try To Remember Names

Remembering names will help in securing great work connections. Do not be afraid to politely reaffirm your client's or new co-workers name during the conversation.

Many times, people will carry their name cards with them. Etiquette guru Peggy Post tells Real Simple, “Don’t panic, and don't feel awful. Just say, ‘I can’t believe it. I’ve just drawn a blank.’”

Be Proactive And Feel Free To Introduce Yourself

Networking is truly an art, and being proactive is the key to success. During a social gathering, do not hesitate to be the first one to reach out to others; make them feel welcomed, comfortable, and engaged.

Gabor recommends beginning conversations with open-ended questions such as, “How do you know our hosts?” Or, “What do you think of this spectacular view?” By starting conversations with simple topics it will be easier to have successful small talk that could lead to bigger and better working connections. Make sure you maintain strong eye contact, to show your confidence! 

How do you handle small talk in a working environment? Leave a comment below.

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