What Do You Say After You Say Hello?

Small talk is a necessary part of the office experience, and it may be worth working on.

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Andrew G.R.
The title of this blog post comes from the 1960s self-help book written by Transactional Analysis (TA) pioneer Eric Berne.

For many of us, office small talk is the bane of our existence. Not only is empty conversation annoying, it contributes to the hamster-on-the-wheel monotony our offices seem so good at delivering.

Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent to these conversations, I'm curious to know what YOU say after "hello."

Many hallway conversations go like this:

Person A: "Hey, how's it going?"

Person B: "I'm good. And you?"

Person A: "Good, thanks."

If we have that exchange everyday for a year, and then on day no. 366 we extend the conversation with an additional "stroke,"  we're likely to raise the suspicion of the person we're talking to. Of course, if the conversation is regularly extended, people can move relationships beyond those of mere coworkers, and friendships can develop.

It's easy to ask someone about a new house, a new car, or a new kid. Beyond that, you're going to have to invest some time and work to figure out what to say. I’ve been at this a long time already, and quite honestly, I’m still not sure what to say after hello.

Do you want small talk to be extended? Or do you wish it didn’t exist at all?

(Whatever you do, just don't commit these five small-talk sins!)

After holding down various media jobs, including stops at MTV Networks and Fox News, Andrew G.R. was completely discouraged—not only about his own career but also about the lack of job resources that truly spoke to him. Enter Jobacle, the employment blog and podcast designed to Make Work Better.