Be More Productive by Avoiding Small Talk

There are many ways people waste their precious time, but at the top of the list is small talk. Unlike other time killers, small talk wastes not just one person's time, but that of two people or even more.

Some people mistake small talk for networking. When you engage in idle chatter about subjects such as sports, the weather, or a current political campaign, it has nothing to do with networking. When such conversations are conducted in the office, you're wasting your time and that of the person which whom you're conversing.

And note that, while E-mail and the Internet are great workplace tools, they are also opportunities to take small talk to a technological extreme. Avoid useless E-mail and time-wasting Internet surfing on company time.

Six Ways to Avoid Small Talk

  1. Tell coworkers who want to chat that you have a deadline to meet, an appointment to keep or a meeting to prepare for.
  2. Keep a timer by your phone so your conversations are limited to five minutes or less.
  3. Plan every meeting with a specific cutoff time.
  4. Limit your conversations to business-related subjects only.
  5. When you enter somebody's office for a brief visit, don't sit down.
  6. Avoid personal calls or E-mail during office hours.
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