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How to small talk while working remotely (without being weird)

Be vulnerable

Be vulnerable

Explain that you just want to say hello.
This is usually enough to remove the weirdness of just saying "hi," especially if you frame it using a little humor.

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How to small talk while working remotely (without being weird)

How to small talk while working remotely (without being weird)

https://zapier.com/blog/how-to-make-small-talk-at-work-remotely/

zapier.com

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Key Ideas

The weirdness of it

Reaching out privately to a colleague can feel weird because making the active decision to initiate a conversation usually creates the expectation that you want something.
So explain why you're reaching out. Always give a reason why you want to talk to someone. Also, send one message, then wait for a response. And if someone continually doesn't respond when you reach out, take the hint.

Reach out

Reaching out and offering your help to a new colleague, for example, is a great way to start a conversation.
It can feel weird, but in a remote setup, this is the only way these chats will happen.

Respond privately

A great way to start a conversation with a teammate is to respond privately to comments made in public channels.
For example:

  • Your comment was very funny!
  • Great job on solving that tricky issue!
  • Thank you for answering my question, I appreciate your perspective.

Be vulnerable

Explain that you just want to say hello.
This is usually enough to remove the weirdness of just saying "hi," especially if you frame it using a little humor.

Don't mind the delays

Sometimes people will respond immediately. But sometimes they won't, and that's okay.
Everyone has things to do, and that means they will not be responding to every message right away.

Respect people's status

A status is a good way to let people know that you're doing focused work or that you're otherwise unable to respond.
Don't reach out to chat when someone is busy.

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Not everyone enjoys small talk. It is not that they are not comfortable talking, but one-on-one, small talk remains an issue.

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Small talk has meaning

Anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski noted in 1923 that a great deal of talk "does not serve any purpose of communicating ideas" but "to establish bonds of personal union." He also said that small talk was merely a way to fill the silence.

He was wrong. Small talk is not just for those seeking companionship. It enacts and reinforces social roles in a whole range of social, commercial, and professional settings. 

Speech operates on two levels
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