Learn How Small Talk Kills Productivity


In the world of words there is a focus on saying much with little. With the revolutionary 140 word restriction posed by Twitter, we have found it more easy to condense what we NEED to say in a short space. This is an essential skill to cultivate as to increase the value of time you spend expressing what you are thinking. This requires the poster to deliberately think about what is necessary in order to convey the thoughts being unwrapped. This brings about the realization that words, sentences and phrases are first ideas in the writers head being placed in word form. By requiring to condense the word forms via word number constriction, it is vital that the idea is thought into in more detail. This means that small talk is void in every sense of the word.


Small Talk: Polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, esp. as engaged in on social occasions. The only reason we engage in this type of conversing is simply to find common ground people the people we are interacting with. A conversation build out of small talk consists of surface level material that requires little-to-no deep intellectual stimulation. When investigated, you might find that small talk is even about things and situations the inquirer already knows about.

Typical Starters Include:

  • “How is the weather where you are?”
  • “How was your vacation?”
  • “Have you seen the scores?”
  • “How is the family?”
  • “How is the new job?”
  • Have you seen the newest episode of_(insert show name here)_?”

If you were to take a moment and answer each one of these, you’d realize very quickly that the answers to the questions are very juvenile and unproductive. You are force(by choice of answering)into a situation of surface level, comfortable, conversation that does nothing, much less benefit, for you or the other person. Furthermore, the conversation is very soon fizzled out as there is no substance and therefore won’t conjure deeper insight into the lives of those involved. This is usually continued by further question and fizzling, concluding in an awkward silence that one could slice with a spoon.

The best way to avoid small talk is to defuse it as soon as it is identified. When you notice that the shallow questioning has commenced, you take it upon yourself to come back with a deep question that shows your deliberate interest in the other person. This is not to make a simple surface level connection, this is to make a genuine connection on as many level as possible.

Typical Starters Include:

  • “What are your thoughts on the current political atmosphere in _(insert your state)_?”
  • “Did you see that _(insert world record or amazing performance)_?”
  • “How is your _(insert family member)_? I heard she wasn’t well?”
  • “Have your started _(insert hobby name)_yet?”
  • “What was the last book you read? What did you learn from it?”
  • “I tried this amazing recipe for _(insert dish name)_ the other day! Do you like _(insert dish name)_?”

If you notice, each one of these questions are engaging and customizable for the situation and person. Within each one of these questions, you are able to gain insight and engagement with the person(s) involved. Furthermore, these are questions that need immediate attention. With the before questions, one could just zone out to the “How is the weather where you are?” with a simple “Good.” When asked a direct question that requires the person to think outside of automation, engagement is inevitable.

In this fashion, you are not killing valuable time for you and the person(s) you are interacting with. Small talk is the ultimate killer of interpersonal interactions. When we get caught in this  vortex of nonsensical chatter we are absolutely wasting time that could be used in a constructive manner. It is even up for your consideration that gaining insight and deep information about the other person may be the most valuable use of your time ever, especially in business. Therefore, when we are engaging in small talk we are killing productive time and missing valuable information that could be attained if we just asked the right questions.





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