Not everyone is good at making small talk, and approaches like the five-stage outline can make things easier. Another key strategy? Aim for niceness rather than dazzle.
Dear Lifehacker, Every week after work we have informal drinks with the boss. I am the resident nerd and I want to find what topics of conversation are appropriate without pretending to like things that I don’t like or having to be false. I do have a decent sense of humor and can crack the boys up now and then, but I need more than that. I need to be interesting and respectful without acting like a fool or being a suck-up. What topics of conversation can I use that I am actually interested in that will engage and interest the boss and his cronies? Thanks, Conversation Starter
Hey Lifehacker, I seem to have trouble with speaking to other people (even though I levelled up to 100 in Skyrim). No matter how I talk or who I talk to, they don’t seem to “get me”. I’m often talking to a friend, colleague, client or family member, thinking I’m acting normally, only to be told told I’m “forceful” or condescending. Often another person says the exact same words I said and they don’t get called out. What am I missing to make people react to me normally? What could I do to communicate better with others? Thanks, Lost For Words
Life is full of awkward moments. We meet people who share intimate details about their personal lives after shaking our hands, others who barely have the capacity to talk, and find ourselves in delicate situations with our friends and family. In trying to relieve our discomfort, we often make matters worse, but that doesn’t have to happen. You can survive any awkward situation with the right mindset.
Barack Obama retaining the US presidency will be a major topic of conversation today, and with an election for Australia due next year, political conversation around the office isn’t about to dry up. But what about when you just want to put your head down and get some work done? Here’s how to get out of those conversations and stay focused.
Dear Lifehacker, I have a few coworkers that always seem to be at my desk talking to me. Whether I’m in the middle of a task and obviously working or I’m trying to talk on the phone or I’m having lunch or a snack at my desk, these folks keep coming up to socialise. I like them, and our office environment is pretty casual, so I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but how can I make them stop bothering me when I’m trying to work or eat at my desk? Thanks, Not-So-Chatty Kathy
In every organisation, at some point, a worker comes along with an intolerable smell, personal space issues, lack of volume control, or one of many problems that negatively affect your work environment and are particularly awkward to confront. While there’s really no way to resolve your discomfort, when it’s time to tell your coworker the truth there are definitely good ways to get the job done. Here’s how.