Good communication skills are essential in the workplace as they allow you to build positive relationships with your co-workers, clients, and customers. No matter what profession you are in, effective communication skills are highly important to be successful. Whether you are communicating with co-workers, clients, or customers, it is important to be able to express yourself clearly and effectively. However, due to the advancement of technology and the pandemic, most business communication is now made online through platforms like Zoom, over video calls. Due to the change in format, many professionals find it difficult to communicate effectively through a screen.
What are some specific things you can try to improve your communication skills as a professional? Let’s find out now.
Learning the Art of Small Talk
Conversations don’t come naturally to everyone – which is why it is important for professionals to learn the art of small talk. Small talk is light-hearted, polite conversations about surface-level things, ranging from weather to surface moods to shared pop culture moments. Engaging in small talk helps to build trust and rapport among colleagues, build professional relationships with clients and, allows you to get a sense of someone during the first meeting. With small talk, you can slowly transition into deeper topics and conversations that can pave the way for successful collaborations and innovation eventually.
1. Introducing Yourself
Introducing yourself is a no-brainer, but how do you do it in a way that creates more conversation or response from the person you are speaking to? For starters, you can introduce yourself as “Hi, I am Josh from Miami”. Not only does this simple introduction let the other party know your name, but it also lets them know where you came from as well. This will allow them to ask you questions about where you are from, about your hometown or your trip over to their city. You can also switch up sharing where you are from with where you are currently working or living.
When your colleague or clients introduce themselves, try to repeat their name when you reply or use their name later in the conversation to show that you are listening to them and to make the conversation more engaging.
2. Appropriate Topics for Small Talk
Small talk is supposed to be conversations with light-hearted topics. Avoid chatting about private life, gossip or health-related topics as it can make the conversation uncomfortable for everyone. You can break the ice with topics regarding sports, books, movies or food. This way, you are bound to land on a common experience that can facilitate even deeper conversations or spark more sharing from all parties.
During the course of a conversation, try not to monopolise it by only talking about your experiences. Allow your colleagues to respond and listen to their replies or sharings. Show that you are really listening by using sounds like “Hmm” and “Really?” to keep the conversation going. You can then comment or respond appropriately with follow-up questions or your own opinions.
3. Keep The Conversation Flowing
In order to continue the conversation, you can share more information about yourself to encourage reciprocal sharing from your colleagues or business partners. You can also make use of open-ended questions to encourage them to share more about themselves. These questions should invoke answers that are more than just “yes” or “no”. However, you should always keep it positive as negative people who complain a lot might give them a bad impression.
Learn Professional English at School of Language International (SLI) Now
Still struggling to make small talk professionally? SLI has got you covered with our Business English courses for professionals. Alternatively, you can also opt for our Business Writing course to improve your professional writing skills as well. Business owners can also consider sending employees for our corporate training courses for their staff to improve their professional English skills.