Casual Talk in the Workplace
After the COVID-19 pandemic, work styles have changed drastically and teleworking has become common all over the world. We are no longer able to consult with our bosses and co-workers immediately if something goes wrong, or ask questions casually as we used to, and especially casual talk outside of work has decreased drastically. Do you think that you can communicate in a business manner by phone, e-mail or video phone, but you don’t know what to talk about outside of work?
After joining the pandemic, new employees had fewer opportunities to come to the office and talk directly with their superiors, and they also had very few opportunities to chat at company events or drinking parties. Now that our lives are gradually returning to normal, some of you may be feeling a little confused about such communication.
In fact, casual talk is very important in building trust. Japanese companies used to go out for drinks after work very often. However, more and more people nowadays seem to think that this kind of drinking is unnecessary. This blog is written for those who are not comfortable with casual office talk now.
The benefits of communication with casual talk
First of all, remember that there are many benefits to smooth workplace communication. By building a trusting relationship with your boss, subordinates, and coworkers, you will find it easier to ask for advice about work and increase your daily motivation. Talking about things other than work, casual talk in the workplace is a very important route to building a relationship. If you have a good relationship, it can lead to a higher evaluation of your work. It can also lead to promotions, improved skills, smoother work progress, fewer mistakes, etc. Smooth communication in the workplace is the goal of every company. In addition, if subordinates can consult with their superiors at an early stage when they are dissatisfied with their work, it can prevent them from leaving early. With these advantages, even if you feel that you are not good at casual talk now, start with what you can practice.
To become a good casual talker
When I first joined the workforce, I myself was not good at talking about subjects other than work, and I was often at a loss. At that time, I tried to be aware of the following points when talking to people, and stop thinking that I can’t talk about anything interesting because you are an introvert. The other person doesn’t necessary want to hear anything extremely revelational, usually they just want to know you more or are taking a break and passing the time. You don’t have to be in your boss’s good graces. If you listen attentively and ask questions about what interests you, the conversation will naturally become more lively.
1, Just listen to what they have to say.
An example of a poor communicator is someone who only talks about him/herself. If you can’t listen to what the other person has to say, the other person will think that you are boring to talk to and selfish. The important thing in communication is to be aware of the importance of catching up in conversation, and not just going one way. Start by listening to what the other person has to say without trying to make it interesting. Nod your head and say, “I see”. Ask questions appropriately to show that you are interested in what the other person has to say and to show your actively listening.
2, Use non-verbal communication, body language.
Body language is a very important part of communication. Body language includes facial expressions, eye movements, tone and speed of voice, hand movements, sitting, walking and posture. Do you fold your arms when you communicate? Different people speak in different tones and at different speeds, so try to match your voice to the person you are communicating with. You can also show that you are listening to them by adding appropriate body language.
Smiling is a good way to make people like you, so look them in the eye and talk to them. Try to create an atmosphere in which the other person feels comfortable talking. In the pandemic, since you are talking through a mask, you may want to make your hand gestures more expressive than usual.
3, Say something positive.
You don’t have to exaggerate or praise the other person, but try to say something positive to make them happy and get them talking. It’s hard to have a good conversation with someone who is always sighing about how tired they are. One of the secrets is to make a compliment to the other person once in a while to liven up the conversation. I don’t think many people feel uncomfortable when they are complimented. A simple way to do this is to compliment them on their belongings, their clothes, or their new hairstyle.
4, Add a positive comment.
After greeting the person with a smile in the morning, try to add a positive word, such as mentioning the news, weather, your commute, or your weekend. Instead of replying to the question with just one word, try to add one more interesting content, which may naturally get the conversation going. For example, if you are asked “How was your last vacation?”, instead of just answering “It was good”, you can add “I liked the restaurant ” or “The hotel was great” to make the conversation a little more lively. Even if you are not good at small talk, you should try this method. If the answer to a question is just one word, it will give the impression that you don’t want to have a conversation with this person.
Some people don’t like casual talk, but you don’t have to be overwhelmed by the need to tell an interesting story. Your willingness to talk in a friendly manner will surely be conveyed to them. If you have a good relationship with your boss and colleagues, you will be able to work more easily, and most importantly, you will be able to enjoy your work every day.