Conversation. Some people have the gift of the gab, always knowing the right thing to say. Others have foot in mouth syndrome, always coming across the wrong way and never getting their real point heard… or so we hope that was surely not what they were meaning to say!
So in the elevator, office kitchen or corporate function, which are you?
You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people, than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
– Bernard Meltzer
Surprising to some people, listening is the best asset of a good conversationalist. People feel so much more valued when you are asking them to talk about themselves, without prying.
Listening includes not interrupting, no matter how boring! Being enthusiastic about what the person has to say, and letting them say their entire piece, will gain more brownie points for your personal brand.
I think it’s extremely important to laugh at yourself, and never at someone else, especially if you have just met them. Some people I know have entire catch ups with their families where they laugh at each other. After some time it all feels negative and no longer in jest. I think it’s more important and is a nicer environment if the only person you pick on is yourself. Keep it positive though, don’t depress everyone!
A champion conversationalist is well read. There is nothing more I dislike than someone who doesn’t read or know what’s happening in the current times. Twitter, Facebook and Social Media sites give no reason now to not know what’s going on in the world, or to have an opinion on it.
Sometimes it’s just manners.
Ignore someone’s mistakes, don’t correct them, especially grammatically.
Knowing how to take the sting out of someone else’s comments or offer opinions without being argumentative. i.e. “I’ve never looked at it in that way before”
I also think it’s nice to leave some air of mystery. No one is more boring than the person that will tell you everything. In minute detail!
Conversations to avoid:
We all know the basics to be avoided (politics, religion), at dinner parties especially, but they are also worth avoiding in the office.
Gossiping does nothing for your personal brand.
Talking about amounts of money, that you are earning or what something you purchased cost, is distasteful.
None of this will work if you aren’t genuine, but approach conversations with confidence and sincerity, and you will gain friends, do well for your personal brand and in the longer term, gain friendships and influence others.
What are your tips for conversations in the office environment?