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Making Office Small Talk

If you work in a office, you will be no stranger to making small talk with colleagues be it in the queue at the vending machines or the annual Christmas party.

However, chatting with colleagues can be difficult as you may not have much in common with them apart from sharing the same office space, yet it is expected of you to get on with your colleagues, and getting on with them certainly makes office life easier.

So we have come up with some tips to help you get there..

How to do it…

Ask Questions
Ask your colleagues questions, it’s a well known fact that people love talking about themselves. Ask them about what they do outside of work, about their family, partner etc, and follow up with questions, proving that you have listened and are interested in what they have to say.

TV, Films & Books
Find out if you share similar interests in books or movies, or make conversation by asking your colleague if they watched a particular programme on TV last night and see what they thought of it.

Keep on Top of Current Affairs
If you keep on top  of current affairs, you will always have a readymade source of conversation topics, just make sure you stay clear of topics that may incite strong differences of opinion and possible conflicts, i.e. religion and politics.

Sincere compliments are always well received, so make a point of commenting on your colleague that has just had their haircut, or equally be vocal in your praise if you feel they carried out a task well. Positive feedback is important to lots of people, and will help boost your colleagues confidence and help build a good rapport between the two of you!

How Not to Do it….

Talking Money
Money is a classic stay clear issue and is the source of many uncomfortable arguments and discussions! Many people understand discussing salaries, bonuses etc are a no go, but sometimes you can be caught off guard and before you know it you are a facing a series of questions from your colleague about just why you received that bonus and they didn’t..

Constant Children Chat
Everyone with kids in the office has their fair share of stories regarding their children, and this can be a good way to bond. Be careful however, that you don’t overdo this and subject your colleagues to a daily stream of stories of family life, this can become too much and can be particularly alienating for those colleagues without children

Religion and Politics Chat
As mentioned above, steer clear of topics such as religion or politics which can incite passionate debates and strong differences of opinion, which can easily create arguments, a big no no in the office.

Relationship Problems
Although it can be tempting to chat about the argument you had with your partner on the way to work, try your best not to bring it to work. If you are angry or frustrated, you may end up bringing up more personal issues than intended, leaving you exposed and vulnerable. Equally, you can make it uncomfortable for your colleagues, who may not know the best way to handle your conversation.

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