Small talk. I hate it. I’m no good at it, because I genuinely HATE practising it. No, colleague, you don’t give a toss about how my weekend was, so why on earth why are you asking?
Of course I partake in it, I have to. And to get anywhere in life not only do you have to partake in it, you have to participate cleverly. Successful people have this clever little knack of making their small talk skills appear to others that they genuinely do want to talk about their commute/weather/coffee.
I’m identifying this as a weakness of mine, because I feel it’s important to notice what needs improvement in order to get any better and further in life. I’m not antisocial, just a little introverted. Being an introvert, I would rather someone tell me what they dreamt last night as opposed to what the weather is meant to do that afternoon. Alas, not everyone wants to share that kind of thing so I need to learn how to make the weather seem so important that the person telling me feels like they’ve imparted some super important news.
I’ve done some reading on this recently – namely from “How To Talk To Anyone – Leil Lowndes”. Despite introverts being less enthused by a meaningless conversation and less likely to be described as the life and soul of the party, they DO possess better listening skills than their extrovert friends.
Truth is, being asked a barrage of questions can be quite daunting for someone who isn’t too fond of talking. Sure, we can natter away to our close friends and family with ease but put us in a situation where we’re slightly out of our comfort zone and you’ll see us clam up and be lost for words. The solution? Be the question master yourself! Don’t give the counter party of the conversation the chance to ask you a barrage of questions… Get in there first and ask THEM the questions!
I feel like I’m slowly getting there with small talk in the office by identifying certain topics of conversation I can have with people that we both have in common. For example, the gym goer, then there’s the snap chatter, then there’s the runner, and there’s the one that’s always ordering new clothes (and so on). By identifying key things I can talk to these people about I have saved myself have the battle of trying to think of something to ask.
I would be so keen to hear from anyone who also shares this hatred for small talk, or if they have any more tips for awkward office chat for introverts!