Over the past year, have you noticed your ability to chit chat has changed? Those conversations you have with someone in a store, with a server at a restaurant, or at a dinner party have all but gone away. Small talk is an important workplace skill that has many benefits. Yes, we are connecting with people virtually, but those conversations are different than when we are in person.
There have been many studies on the effects that the pandemic has had on people’s social skills. From a business development perspective, our ability to connect with clients and prospects is a key component in getting to know someone.
Why is small talk so important in business development?
- It makes you smarter – by listening to others you will learn something
- It is spontaneous – maybe you ask someone “how is your day?” to which you get the standard “fine” or it may take you down an interesting path
- It is engaging – you are providing an ear to another person which allows them to open up about something that may not be the topic of the day
- Create a lasting impression – pay attention to what people are saying, how they are saying it, and being empathetic to them will keep you in high regard
- Reduces anxiety – small talk is a great way to ease situational tension
- Find common interests – people have picked up a lot of new skills in the last year, maybe you share a few
- Motive free – you are not asking for anything other than conversation
- Can help you out of a situation – saying hello to your office security guard on a regular basis can come in very handy when you are locked out and need in to finish work for your client
- Cooperation – social connection builds cooperation when people feel they are part of something which small talk helps to build
- You will be liked – small talk is not just about being outgoing or interesting, it is a gesture of respect
We will be seeing each other in person soon. Make sure you are ready.