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How Small Talk Can Lead You To Great Success

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How Small Talk Can Lead You To Great Success

It is not what you know, it’s who you know. Take these words from the author of one of the world’s greatest bestsellers of all time, Dale Carnegie. He became famous for his How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936. Many goals can be attained by communicating with other people and learning just how to talk to people can lead you to great success.

The art of talking is as much about listening as speaking out loud. You cannot know a person until you talk with them and get to know them at a deeper level. Small talk also serves as a portal to let others see you as well. In the world of entrepreneurship, you must surround yourself with the right people who can help you grow and expand your horizons. When you have the right people within your grasp, you have a connection that will lead you closer to success.

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Here are three top tips that can help your small talk lead to great success.

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Be Spontaneous

It can be hard to start a conversation with a stranger. But it’s often even harder to keep the ball rolling. Listen to whomever you are talking to and compliment what they say. The conversation will likely continue in an amiable way. Being interested in whatever the person is talking about — regardless of whether or not you really are — will get you a long way towards gearing the conversation the way you want it to. Also, try never to settle one on one-line answers like a “yes” or a “no”. This will definitely lead you to trouble as the other person might feel that you are either uninterested or not worth the time to talk to. Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Be interested in them – not just you!

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Have a story or two ready.

It might sound too rehearsed but having something to share with someone that you already thought of before will help you have successful small talks. Having a number of things to share will also give you a chance to choose as to which might be more of a “common ground” story with the person you’re talking to. If you are nervous about meeting up with a certain person, having a story ready might help calm your nerves. Try and gear the story you pick to the topic at hand, such as saying something like, “You know, that reminds me of the time that….” After all, communication is all about sharing something in common. And when you have that common thing that you can talk about, then it wouldn’t be hard for you to have a small talk. You will be able to establish a closer bond and later on a connection that you can use for your success. Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

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Have a clear objective.

Seriously, why are you talking to this person? Why do you want to talk with them at all? Do they have something you need for your business? Do they know people that are influential and can help you accomplish something? What is your objective? Perhaps you want to break the ice with someone and be friends with them. But what is your CLEAR objective? Make it clear through your chat that this relationship can somehow be beneficial for both of you. Having a clear objective will not only do away with gray areas of small talk but will also make the small talk a foundation for future success for an endeavor. Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Small talks do not need to be a frantic approach to save yourself in a blind spot or just because you don’t have a choice. Instead, it can be a means for you to be recognized and to open up new choices for you to achieve success. Don’t underestimate the value of small talks. Don’t choose between silence and success.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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