I was reading a great post at the Jotter’s Joint earlier and it reminded me of something that happened recently …
I was at a work luncheon the other day. It was one of those service award things and I sitting at a table with 5 coworkers from departments outside my own who apparently weren’t in the mood to talk.
After a while it got awkward
Being the dyed-in-the-wool introvert that I am, I was perfectly fine with just munching my lunch and enjoying the scenery. But, as I looked around at the others, it seemed as though some were a bit uncomfortable with the quiet. So, beginning with the guy sitting next to me, I started asking questions.
I guess I went around the table a couple of times asking more and more questions until, after a bit, one of them commented that I sounded like I was interviewing them for a job. Without batting an eyelash, I switched gears and asked … if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
You see, in my job I write about HR topics and, like most folks when trying to make conversation, I tend to focus on things that come naturally to me. For example to get the conversation going, I asked …
How long have you been in your current job?
What is it about your job that you like the best?
My coworker was right
I was asking questions like a job interviewer, like the HR director I used to be. It just comes naturally. Small talk, unfortunately, does not.
The neat thing, at least for me, was that once I asked the lame question about the tree, everyone cracked up. The ice broke.
The point is
It doesn’t really matter what your small talk is about. What matters is that you throw it out there.
Sometimes, it might fall flat. But, other times, it just may open the gate to a trip into other people’s worlds.
And, much like writing whatever is on your mind to keep the juices flowing, it is well worth the effort.
Even for us introverts.
A hearty thank you to the Jotter’s Joint for sharing some juice with this old girl!
i think you did just well in that conversation 🙂 – i have evolved from ambivert to introvert….loving the new me 🙂
Thanks. It was touch and go for a few minutes but it all worked out in the end. They all chatted on and on amicably and I got to just sit there and enjoy the scenery after all.
I can relate to this post! I am not good at small talk but find that because of my former position I had a responsibility to make employees feel comfortable at events. Jeez! I got to know the most bizarre bits of information that I really didn’t want to know!
I can relate. I used to host employee events and sometimes it was really awkward making smalltalk with a difficult employee who’d been on my office only a few days before. But, you do what you gotta do.