Small Talk Matters. Top Tips to Get You Talking.
Many people see small talk as a waste of time. They would be wrong to do so; small talk is a big deal.
When we meet face to face, we ease into discussions with a little bit of ‘conversational grease,’ a drop of ‘dialogue oil’ to smooth the way into more goal-focused conversations.
In our virtual world, we get into a group without the benefit of that initial casual conversation. Waiting for a meeting/presentation/webinar etc., to start can often bring on an awkward silence as no one knows what to say and doesn’t wish to speak out of turn.
Take the lead! Here are some tips:
Direct a simple question to one person you know. Avoid asking the group as everyone will wait for someone else to respond.
Share something light but personal. This helps form deeper relationships that go beyond your work persona.
If you know someone’s interests (food, sport, etc.), direct a relevant question to them using their name.
Try to draw in others by asking their thoughts on what someone else said. “Aditya, you have a cat. Any advice for Gary?”
Listen and respond to keep the conversation going.
Keep the comments short and light so that you can switch to business-mode as needed.
Set yourself a goal to get the conversation started in your next virtual meetings, and you will form deeper connections, which will open the door to more business-specific conversations.