IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Smalltalk again… Like It Or Not Its an Essential Skill for the Office

Posted by IT Pilgrim on July 10, 2008

aah.. to be that young again. Do people really hate small talk? I would say that yes, some do, but why? In most instances it seems to be because they are not good at it and thus it makes them uncomfortable. Isn’t that what life is supposed to be about? To live, to learn, and to grow, that is what life’s purpose is. How can you ever learn ands grow unless you just jump in and get your feet wet.

Smalltalk is the way people feel you out when they first meet you. They are using seemingly inane conversation to get you to reveal a little about yourself. You may think that people are trying to find something in common with you, and they are, but I have a bit of a newsflash … They don’t care what words come out of your mouth.

So little of human communication is about the words we say, its about the meaning we convey, not the words they say. Meaning could be, that I don’t care to listen to you, or I don’t care enough to hear what you have to say, a sure mark of someone people will most likely avoid in the future. This my friends is where networking begins. Are you the kind of person who genuinely listens to what people say, or are you just looking to make your escape?

When people small talk, they are trying to get up the courage to say something meaningful but hey don’t just come out and say it because they are afraid to scare you off too quickly. They are trying to form a relationship that may mean something to them even if it means nothing to you. How do you know that the two minutes spent talking to you wasn’t the only human contact that person has had in days or weeks. Sad, I know, but I would ask people to consider the ramifications of what they do.

How do you know that the person you were a jerk to won’t be someone you will need in the months or years to come. Learning to use small talk will not only give you a network the envy of all your peers, but it will genuinely make you a better person. How would you like to be know as the person everyone talks to? Would you prefer to be the dork in the corner sitting by himself everyday at lunch?

Ok, so how do you change it? Once again, it doesn’t matter what you say, but it does matter that you become genuinely interested in the other person. Companies that use word of mouth for marketing, such as realtors, lawyers and accountants would rather hire this skill than tech it, but its really not that hard. Here’s what you do …go to the mall or wal-mart or whatever, just go about your daily life. Choose the longest line available and just start talking, or just smile and look people in the eye, they will talk to you.

It becomes a game, what is natural for some people is not so much for others, but you can do anything that’s a game right? Walk around to every desk in your office and introduce yourself. After every 3 or 4 desks, write down somewhere the person’s name, where you saw them and a few lines to describe them. This will inscribe them on your brain and this is how you become good at names.

Wait at least a day or two, and go back around again. Smile at everyone, even if you don’t feel it and see how many come up to you. You have to teach yourself to care, not what they say but that they said anything to you at all. You see, that’s really what its all about, its not about the talking itself. Its about growing up and maturing into a complete person and you cant do that by hiding.

Photo by by oooh.oooh via Flickr

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One Response to “Smalltalk again… Like It Or Not Its an Essential Skill for the Office”

  1. […] – bookmarked by 4 members originally found by goddessprincessqueen on 2008-07-23 Smalltalk again… Like It Or Not Its an Essential Skill for the Office […]

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