Do these phrases sound familiar? …
“How are you?”
“Good, how are you?”
“Beautiful day, isn’t it?”
“Can you believe all of this rain we’ve been having?”
“It looks like it’s going to snow.”
…It’s likely that you’ve already used some variation of these phrases 50+ times today – when you arrived at the office, when you bumped into someone at the water cooler or restroom, when you sent an email, when you left the office, when you ran into someone at the grocery store, and everywhere in between.
If we were to add up all of the time spent verbally and electronically participating in meaningless small talk so far this year, how much time do you think has been wasted? Of course, it’s nice and enjoyable to communicate with the people around us, but why do we automatically default to futile chitchat? What if we all skipped the small talk dance and made an effort to connect with each other by sharing insightful, meaningful information? How much more could we accomplish? How would our relationships evolve and grow?
Picture this instead…
“Good morning, how are you?”
“I’m actually really great, my daughter took her first steps last night!”
“Oh! You have a daughter? I have a one-year-old daughter too. We should do a play date sometime!”
…Much more engaging and fruitful than talking about the rain, don’t you think?
Or how about this water cooler conversation…
“How are you today?”
“I’m actually really struggling to pull those numbers together for the meeting.”
“Last month I had the same issue, but I figured out a workaround that saves a ton of time; want me to drop by your desk and show you?”
When we’re in the comfort of our own home with family and close friends, we rarely engage in small talk; likely because we’re already very comfortable with those people and we’re busy getting down to the business of running a household and maintaining those relationships. But what if we took that method of the communication out into the world? We would all likely form more meaningful relationships that matter.