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Small Talk

I’m amazed at how the right question or statement can change a person’s entire demeanor. One of our programs is currently working with a couple who always look extremely uncomfortable when they visit our office. I’ve engaged in small talk with them each time they’ve been there, but they still weren’t put at ease.

I discovered the key today. A coworker mentioned that the man had worked for a certain company and said she remembered me saying that I’d worked for the same place once upon a time. Even though my employment with that organization was over twenty years ago, I will never forget it or the reason we parted ways.

Believing I had a way to break the ice, I asked the gentleman about his time with the company when he was in our office today. He told me when he worked there and a little about his experience. His story mirrored mine, even though I was long gone before he ever darkened their door. By the end of our conversation, he and his wife were both happily chatting with me and even smiling.

My simple question opened the door to a nice conversation and resulted in two uncomfortable people feeling more relaxed in our office. I know it can be intimidating to walk into an office and talk to strangers. I get uncomfortable in unfamiliar places, as well.

Life is stressful enough without adding unnecessary tension. Sometimes the act of exchanging pleasantries with those around you can make everyone feel better. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice and shoot the breeze a little.

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