14 Tips to Make Small Talk With Your Employees

If you’re afraid about the return of small talk, here are some tips to assist you in overcoming any anxiety and improve your ability to initiate and sustain discussions with your staff.

Open the conversation the right way

Begin with an introductory remark that establishes a connection and establishes common ground between the two of you. It is often easy to offer an observation or statement based on your common surroundings. ‘This is a fantastic occasion.’

This creates a common experience that bridges your social divide and provides a pretext for additional discussion. Other possible ways to start a conversation include the following:

Ask for help

Asking for help is an easy way to start a conversation at work and a great way to show that you want to learn about the business.

It also shows that you have faith in what your employees know. Most likely, you’ll need help at your job anyway, so why not use it as a way to socialize?

A few compliments might go a long way

There will always be something about your employee that you like. Give them compliments on something they’re wearing, a new pair of glasses, or a new nail polish color.

If you compliment a piece of clothing or an item of furniture, you could ask the person where they got it to start a conversation.

Try to help

Even if you are still learning, you can offer to help your employees with their work when you don’t have anything to do.

If someone says yes, you can start talking about the project. If they say no, you can still ask about the project to find out what other people are working on in the office.

Maintain your body posture

Adopt open body language by expanding your arms, moving your hands away from your face, chin, or lips, and smiling to indicate receptivity and proactively handling any uneasiness.

By maintaining your body language open and relaxed, you will look more confident and welcoming, which will inspire your employees to make initial contact with you.

Ask open-ended questions

To encourage favorable replies, ask open-ended questions. Inquire about intriguing and pleasant events in your conversational employee’s life by asking questions.

Asking open-ended inquiries rather than ones that need a one-word answer. Rather than asking, “How was your weekend?” try, “What was the most intriguing aspect of your weekend?”

Be positive

In business, positivity is key, so you should always start a conversation on a good note. Be very careful about giving any bad feedback.

You should never disagree with your employee in front of other people. If you have to turn down someone’s request, say you will “keep in mind” what he wants.

Give your employee a chance to talk

Taking the time to listen to what the employee has to say is an important part of handling conversations.

Keeping things on track is important, but you don’t want the conversation to feel like a lecture or a warning. Instead, you want it to feel like a two-way street.

Once you’ve told the employee why you’re talking to them and what’s going on, let them tell the same story from their point of view. Clear up any confusing points and try to listen actively so that they feel like you understand them.

Try to leave your thoughts and ideas about what’s happening at the door. Even if someone has done something wrong, it can be hard to understand their point of view. If you listen with an open mind, it will be much easier to do so, and the conversation will be more productive.

Avoid sensitive topics

Avoid talking about things that might make people feel uncomfortable, like politics, gossip, religion, personal questions, controversies, etc. You can talk about anything (e.g., something related to movies, hobbies, weather, etc.) Avoid having long conversations about your eating habits or health.

Maintain your professionalism

Diverting other issues from workplace talks is the greatest approach to ensuring success. Being a workplace gossip may start a discussion right now, but it will have a detrimental long-term impact on your reputation.

Discussing your connections is also not a good idea

No one wants to hear about your recent altercation with your boyfriend or mother; save it for your buddies outside of work.

Other personal matters, such as religion or political beliefs, may not be appropriate to discuss at work. You never want to make another person feel awkward, so tailor your discourse to your audience.

Look for what you have in common

Discovering what you share in common with a colleague is a terrific approach to starting a discussion. For example, many individuals like taking vacations.

Inquire about any forthcoming excursions or where they spent their last vacation to start an interesting discussion. Another smart place to start is to find out whether they have pets or children.

In addition, one of the easiest ways to get to know an employee is to talk about things you both like. By talking about something you both like, you can have a more personal conversation beyond the weather or what you had for lunch.

Do you both have kids or pets, for example? Or maybe you know that the person you’re talking to likes Mexican food. With these things in common, it’s easy to talk about the latest PTA meeting or the great new Mexican restaurant that just opened down the street from your office.

Accept diversion

Small chat does not always go as intended. They, like the monsoon, take unexpected twists, and you shouldn’t be startled. That should happen since a speech would not connect with the other person.

Diversions are a natural aspect of small chat, and you can always embrace them by contributing your thoughts and moving the conversation along. Sometimes distraction is what sparks a good conversation and cements relationships.

Be interesting

The best way to keep from boring your employee is to be ready to talk. Practice a couple of funny stories before the conversation to make sure you can keep your employee entertained.

Keep things and information confidential

In some situations, you may have to tell other people what you talked about with your employee, but if you can, it’s best to try to keep the nature of the conversation a secret.

This will help the employee feel more at ease while you talk, but it will also help everyone move on from what has happened and look to the future instead of dwelling on the bad things that have happened.

Suggest solutions

Ensure you go into a conversation with constructive feedback and ideas for how to avoid a certain situation in the future. This will help keep the conversation positive and helpful.

When you end a difficult conversation with a clear plan of action, the conversation will feel more productive, and hopefully, any bad feelings brought up will go away.

Instead of just telling an employee what you think they should do, it’s important to talk with them about how to find solutions.

They are much more likely to take action if they like the next steps or have suggested them, so ensure you take their opinions and wants into account.

Keep your feelings under control

Your conversation should be based on facts and not on how you feel. Feelings or emotions could take over the conversation and make it hard to get anywhere.

At the same time, it is just as important to give the employee a chance to say what they think. It will make the conversation more interesting and improve the relationship between employer and employee.

Choose the right time and place for it

If you pick up one worker and start talking to the rest of the team, it will worsen. You have to show that you care and find the right time and place for the conversation.

It could happen in a conference room, a meeting room, or even over a cup of coffee. You need to find a way to make everyone feel comfortable and at ease.


When it comes to making a small chat, you shouldn’t feel that you have to come up with something profoundly insightful to say every time you speak.

However, how you make other people feel will be remembered long after your words have been forgotten.

When you have mastered the fundamentals of making small conversations, you will relish the opportunity to interact with other people in various settings.

About the Author
Hi there, I'm James, founder of Melbado. I have over 20 years of experience as a leader and entrepreneur. Recently, I turned to leadership coaching and writing to pass on my knowledge to the next generation. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me via our contact page.


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