Whether you are a bit anti-social or just shy, if you are working in an office environment, it is a fact of life that you will, at some time or the other, have to make small talk with colleagues of all ages that you would not necessarily socialise with normally.

Socialising is part of working in an office environment, and making small-talk with people you have very little in common with can be either be incredibly awkward or moderately enjoyable, depending on how it is handled.

Sometimes the best way to be a good conversationalist is not to talk at all, but to be a very good listener. Most individuals love talking about themselves, so asking them about their family, their pets and their hobbies is a sure-fired way to get the chat going smoothly along, and all you had to do is be, or at least act, genuinely interested in the responses.

When someone can walk away from a conversation feeling good about themselves they will think more of you and an easy way to ensure that this happens is to gather titbits about your co-workers by being alert to the photos around their work area and conversations you overhear such as the colleague at the next work-station having a conversation about a good book they are reading or a brilliant movie they have just seen. Don’t go all stalkerish; keep conversations broad.

Paying someone a compliment such as complimenting them on an interesting necklace or a new hairstyle will immediately brighten their day and get them talking about themselves. Discussions on current events is always a great idea, and you can generally pick up enough from your social media or watching just ten minutes of global news per day.

Local topics such a upcoming festivals or a fancy new restaurant are also good subjects to start a conversation, as are sports, especially if you know in which sports your colleagues are interested.

Go ahead, get yourself a nice long cool drink of water from your water cooler a few times a day; it will keep you hydrated, healthy and alert and do a lot for your social networking at the same time.

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