Small talk is not easy for everyone. To which group do you belong: the ‘haters’ or the ‘lovers’?

I know a lot of managers who say they hate small talk. They find it shallow, a complete waste of their time and -in their words – ..”it doesn’t bring me anything’. I am not saying that small talk is everything, but there is an advantage to it: it can create a way to understanding each other and be the glue to

(watch this TED talk of News director and radio host Kyle Kellams who describes his experience)

What to do when you are on the haters side but do want to try small talk? Here are some suggestions:

  • Put away your phone. Nothing kills a conversation more than a person looking at their phone. It gives a signal that you have better things to do.
  • Make eye contact and make sure the other person feels comfortable. So don’t corner him or her but have an open attitude.
  • Try talking to someone you do not seem to have something in common with: a colleague you find annoying, a manager that always seems angry. It might surprise you.
  • Give a compliment. It opens up the other person.
  • Keep trying: do not just do it once.
  • Try being really interested in the other person. Ask questions and explore what you have in common. It could be anything from hobbies, travels, books or movies.
  • Talk about your dreams, interests or tell them something funny about yourself.
  • Ask questions and listen. I cannot emphasize this enough. Listening is so important. Be really present. Someone once said that people use listening time to prepare themselves on what they are going to say next. Don’t do that! Really listen.

There is a lot more to say about small talk (no pun intended!) but this might help you to start. If you want to know more, I can coach you in this.