She spoke with Jason — after exchanging pleasantries, of course — about the research and the prospects for small talk during the pandemic. The conversation has been condensed for space.
How do you define “small talk”?
It’s polite, lighthearted and superficial, with no depth whatsoever. It’s expected that you greet someone at the copier or say hello in the hallway. It’s greetings, it’s farewells, it’s chitchat in common areas.
What we found was that the employees who engaged in more small talk — it didn’t matter with whom — ended up feeling more positive emotions. It made them feel more recognized, more acknowledged and gave them a sense of connection with people. It made them more willing to go out of their way to help co-workers.
Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal
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