Small talk might not be that meaningful, but it does have a few benefits: it can make you happier and it can boost the brain’s executive functions responsible for everything from attention and focus to time management to organization.
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Research found that only 7 percent of communication comes from the words you use; the rest of what you communicate comes from your voice and tone (38 percent) and your body language (55 percent).
So that means when you send a virtual message, 93 percent of what you’re trying to communicate may be lost.
Listening is the most important part of having a quality conversation—and it’s also the area most people struggle with.
So if you want to improve the quality of your conversations at work, look for opportunities to develop and practice your listening skills.
Open office layout cuts face-to-face conversations by as much as 70 percent. The fact that an entire department could hear you talking with someone can block you from seeking connection.
Search for or create pockets of privacy within those open workspace (for example, use a conference room or a designate a quiet zone).
If you find that you’re stuck in a conversation that isn’t going anywhere, a change of scenery can work wonders. So take your conversation outside.
It will reduce stress levels, increase positive emotions, spark creativity, and foster a sense of openness. All these will have a positive effect on your conversations.
Most people like real conversations that don’t force them to act like people they aren’t. If you see an opportunity to joke around or personalize a conversation, take it — even if it’s early. It will decrease barriers from the start, and the shift will enable you to have a better conversation.
Research indicates that successful teams foster “psychological safety”. This is a culture characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect, where people are comfortable being themselves.
Teams with psychological safety are more creative. They’re more trusting. They’re more innovative. And most of all, they’re more connected.
If you begin discussions by asking questions regarding the current location or occasion, it can help release the pressure of trying to force a conversation. Make sure it is open ended, nonthreatening and nonpersonal.
From there you can move the conversation to something more personal. Be the one asking the questions and allow the other person to speak.