The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Communicate at Work

The key to success lies in good communication

Big mistake companies make

What exactly is small talk?

The fine art of small talk: what are the benefits?

What is the purpose of small talk?

6 strategies to master the fine art of small talk

1) Prepare for the conversation

2) Treat the customer like a close friend

3) Ask open-ended questions

4) Get rid of distractions

5) Be empathetic

6) Show enthusiasm

Small talk topic ideas

  • Books, podcasts, movies, tv shows
  • Travel experiences
  • Food, cooking, restaurants
  • Hobbies and passions
  • Career goals and job responsibilities
  • Favorite sports
  • Plans for the holidays
  • Weather and climate
  • Personal or professional goals
  • Favorite local hangouts
  • News, current events
  • Entertainment industry

Topics to avoid

Examples of questions you can ask:

  • Where are you from?
  • What’s the weather like there?
  • How long have you lived here?
  • What do you like the most about the area/city/town/etc.?
  • What are the top things to see and do here?
  • Do you have any recommendations or tips for things to try?
  • What are the “holes in the wall” that everyone needs to check out while they’re here?
  • What’s been the highlight of your day (week or month) so far?
  • How are the holidays treating you?
  • What’s a typical day look like for someone in your line of work?
  • Any books or podcasts you’d recommend I add to my audio book playlist?
  • What kind of music are you into these days?
  • How long have you been a fan of the team/league/sport in question?
  • Who’s your favorite player and why?
  • Why did the team win the big game last night/weekend/season etc.?
  • How did you get into your line of work?
  • How do you like working in this industry?

When to avoid small talk

  • How may I help you?
  • What brings you here today?
  • What can I do for you?
  • What are the problems you are experiencing or the issues you are having?
  • Do you have any questions for me?
  • What information do I need to help you with the issue/inquiry?
  • Is there anything else I can help with today? (This is typically the last question asked unless the caller requests something additional.)

Actions speak louder than words

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CEO at CustomersFirst Academy, global provider of online customer service training and certifications.

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Viktoriya Maya

Viktoriya Maya

CEO at CustomersFirst Academy, global provider of online customer service training and certifications.

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