I work at a huge organization, primarily made up of socially self-conscious people. Conversations are awkward and uncomfortable. The communal anxiety is contagious and sometimes even people who start this job ‘normal’ give in to the beast.
Being socially cool at a place like this is not rocket science, but rather less work than one would think. Getting in and out of conversations is indeed a skill
Here are a few ways to survive at work:
Always say ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ hold the door open for the person behind you, etc. This is just pleasant communication and helps people feel more comfortable to be treated nice.
Another way of not really talking about anything solid is to have a few tasteful jokes on tap. People love jokes, and this often gets the conversation flowing because others will want to tell their joke next. Telling a joke is also an excellent way to make an easy exit, just turn around and walk away when the person laughs.
Learn how to ‘small talk.’ The head honchos lovvveee small talk. It’s pretty much all they do when not talking about business, because they don’t want to talk about their actual personal lives. When there’s really nothing to say, small talk goes a long way.
Understand basic body language cues
Non-verbal communication tells you everything you need to know about how to conduct the conversation. Is the other person itching to leave? Look at his/her feet; they are pointed in the direction they want to go. Is your co-worker truly excited to sit and chat for a few mins? Again, look at the feet. More on body language.
Don’t worry about trying to “fill” the conversation, usually people just want someone to listen. Dominating the conversation does not = a good conversation. Listen 100% and don’t offer advice unless it’s either really good or requested.
How do YOU make it through the day?