Small talk doesn't come easily to everyone, and you may not have even considered its advantages, but they do exist. Whether or not you're a person who enjoys this kind of conversation, you should think about the ways it can benefit your business.

Build Relationships and Trust

Small talk helps you build relationships with people in business, which can also lead to increased trust among one another. This is true for both colleagues or employees, as well as clients and customers. The more your colleagues/employees trust you, the more likely they are to want to help you meet goals and continue their working relationship with you. The more you trust them, the more peace of mind you'll have with regards to your team. On the client/customer side of things, it's important that they trust you to deliver the experience they're paying for, so you can earn their repeat business. It's also helpful for you to be able to trust them to come back.

Create a More Positive (and Productive) Work Environment

Small talk can help you create a positive and productive work environment. The more you get to know the people you work with, the better you can work together.

"Human beings have dominated planet Earth because of our ability to cooperate with each other," says Fast Company's Art Markman.1 "Cooperation happens because people feel like they are part of a team, and not because of a set of boxes on an org chart. You are not going to feel highly motivated to help out other people because you sit in the same area of the building, or because a supervisor told you that you had to. It is your social connection to others that greases the gears of cooperation. Small talk is a significant part of creating that social connection. When you have brief conversations about topics outside of the work that you’re doing, you solidify the bond with another person in a way that makes more goal-directed conversations and requests flow smoothly."

Learn More

When you have conversations, you learn more about the people with whom you're speaking, and sometimes about different aspects of the world in general. Depending on the person you're talking to, you might be able to gain insights into a particular industry or niche or discover a new idea that you can apply to your business. Be open to conversation to broaden your overall knowledge.

Increase Opportunities

Engaging in small talk can help you increase the chances for new business opportunities. You never know where a conversation might lead, and it's always possible that it may lead to an arrangement that can benefit both parties.

"The point of business is to grow and thrive while making an impact in your profession," notes the team at Vaspian.2 "You cannot achieve success without loyal customers and investors backing your ideas and committing to your concepts. To muster trust and friendship with your clientele, consumers need to be heard and understood as people, not as statistics on a chart or as dollar signs in your books. Small talk, then, presents opportunities to get to know and hear your clients. You may learn something new about the customer that you can then use in later conversation, or one interaction may turn into someone signing a deal with your company. Being an expert small talker presents opportunities for growing your business and its reputation."

How to Get Better at Small Talk

Begin by taking time to talk about things like work, the weather, family, hobbies, sports, entertainment, etc. Try to stick to subjects that are unlikely to be controversial, and that you might have in common with the other person. Ask questions instead of focusing on yourself, but do share things about yourself as the talk progresses, especially if they ask. Ask what they think, know, or like about a certain thing or what they think will happen with the topic at hand ("How do you think your team will do in the draft?"). Make eye contact and be enthusiastic.

Small talk may not seem like a big deal, but if you consider that it can help you improve relationships, find new opportunities, become more productive, and gain more knowledge, you just might change your mind about it.





The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC