I hate small talk. I really do. I feel very uncomfortable when I’m standing near someone, for whatever reason, and he or she makes a comment about the weather. I’m familiar with weather. Chances are, I’ve been experiencing the weather all day.
The problem is that even though I don’t like it, small talk has some very real benefits. In fact, it has a very wide and far reaching range of benefits. Clearly, mastery of this skill can improve your social life, it can have a positive impact on your state of mind and your emotions if you let it. But did you also know that it can help you in your career?
I’m going to outline a few of the benefits that becoming a good small talker can bring.
No one likes to feel alone. If you are like me in that you don’t like small talk, you might also be like me in that you don’t have many friends. While you’re not likely to become best friends just because you initiated a conversation with someone, it could certainly help fill a loneliness void that might exist.
Getting your face out of your smart phone is also a benefit. Instead of staring at your smartphone, checking Facebook posts….AGAIN, it could afford you the opportunity to get some social time in person instead of virtually.
That guy standing near you in line might not be just a casual stranger that you have no interest in talking to. In fact, talking about the poor economic outlook might just lead to “Oh, you have an aptitude in that area, I happen to know a guy…”
And then it starts. By some coincidence, suddenly you’re in touch with someone who could possibly advance your career. I saw it happen in the store at which I used to work. A colleague of mine went from an under-employed retail worker to a very happy flight attendant.
Sometimes, a little small talk can lead to major problem solving help. How many times have you gotten an idea while in the shower, or walking your dog or just thinking about something else? How about thinking out loud for a change.
You’re not asking anyone for help, you’re simply making small talk. Sometimes the responses that you get can really jog your creativity and imagination.
Through seemingly idle chit-chat, we really can make major improvements in our lives… try it.