“Good to see you. How are you? How was your weekend?”
Those sentiments and questions are fairly standard conversation routines. We expect a certain amount a chit-chat and small talk before we jump into the real meat of the conversation. The information exchanged during that chit-chat isn’t always important which is why some people prefer to skip it altogether and jump right to business. Don’t become one of these people.
I work with several very intelligent, efficient and talented people. But one co-worker in particular is so focused on completing tasks that this person regularly skips the small talk. I appreciate the desire to be efficient, but it’s very difficult to walk into work some mornings and know that 30 seconds after I arrive, my co-worker will be bombarding me with a list of things that need to get done that day.
What this co-worker sees as good effort, efficient work and good communication looks good on paper. But the lack of small talk becomes frustrating after a while. It becomes obvious that every time I have a conversation with this co-worker it will be about work, which on occasion, will lead me to avoid this person for short periods of time. The avoidance and frustration completely negates my co-workers efforts to be efficient and complete tasks. And since we’re always on deadline at a TV station, time is of the essence.
Think about how this applies in your workplace. Do you have a tendency to avoid small talk? Work with someone who does? Engage in small talk helps build rapport and shows a personal interest in your co-workers, colleagues and clients. The exchange doesn’t need to last more than a minute or two and could be as short as 30 seconds. It’s a small price to pay for rapport and efficiency. Don’t skip the small talk.
Jen Mueller is the Founder and CEO of Talk Sporty to Me. She’s available to speak for keynotes, presentations and workshops. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. She also developed a line of popular greeting cards as another way to build rapport. They are available on her website http://www.talksportytome.com