One of the most popular blogs on my site rockingyourrole.com is about how to make small talk with your boss. As this is a challenge that many of us face face I thought I’d share it here. Even if you don’t have a boss, you will have important clients or colleagues you may need to make small talk with.
You’ve got an event coming up and your boss suggests that you meet and travel together. This is a great opportunity to have one to one time with her, but you’re not sure if you have anything in common.
You start to imagine an hour of silence, or talking about the weather and realise that this could be the longest and most career-annihilating hour of your life.
How to move from mediocre to memorable in the eyes of your boss
The key to making small talk with your boss is to listen to what they say and pay attention to their body language.
What they say and do will provide you with important information on the type of small talk that lands well with them.
1. Less talk more listening
By listening and observing, you can find out:
- Their interests outside work – family, sports, music, gadgets?
- What type of information they listen to most – targets, ideas, relationships or facts and figures?
- What style or approach they are most receptive to, such as humour, thought provoking questions, fast paced banter or relaxed over coffee.
2. Make connections
Knowing what their interests are means you can ask: how are the children, family or new car? Try to make connections with your life, if you don’t have children perhaps you can talk about a friend’s child or a niece of nephew. Or maybe you are thinking of going on holiday, and your boss has just been, you can ask for the inside track on the country they visited.
3. Their story
People love to share their story. Ask your boss about their route to the top. They’ll be flattered into sharing the benefit of their wisdom.
4. Share your passion
If you have an interesting or unusual hobby or passion that is appropriate to talk about in the work environment, share it with your boss. It is helpful for them to see you bursting with enthusiasm, demonstrates that you are well rounded and will help you to be memorable.
5. Be real
Most importantly be genuine, your boss will spot fake interest a mile off.
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