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The M Dash

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Our Rewrite the Rules bus is hitting the road in NYC.

A 3-Part Formula for Eliminating Awkward Small-Talk at Work

Whether you’re heading back into the office or still stuck on Zoom, chances are your small-talk skills could use a tune-up.

By Caitlin Abber

September 17, 2021

Picture this: You’re back in the office, patiently waiting for the elevator, and a colleague you regularly work with but haven’t seen in person since March of 2020 comes up behind you and smiles. You nod your head in acknowledgement, and then your mind goes completely blank. Can you compliment their shoes (you haven’t seen their feet in over a year)? Ask them how their cat is (he sure did love to bomb your meetings)? Bring up a plot hole in The White Lotus (what if you spoil it!)? You’re finally together in person again, and yet, you feel like you have nothing to say.

Or maybe you’re still dialing into Zoom meetings from home, but even after 18 months of practice, you still haven’t figured out how to fill the silence while waiting for the other attendees to arrive (we’ve been there, sometimes multiple times a day…). 

No matter how or who you’re working with right now, it really feels like many of us have run out of things to talk about. So as part of our mission to help make it easier for you to do the work that matters to you, we created this handy-dandy Office Small-Talk Generator. Follow this simple chart, and you’ll be stringing together politically ambiguous statements, dropping funny non-offensive quips, and making memorable off-the-cuff observations in no time. (Do all of these conversation-starters make sense? No. But will they make your day a little more interesting? Absolutely.)

In NYC and looking for more ways to prep for or refresh your back-to-work skills? Swing by our Rewrite the Rules bus the week of 9/20 to peruse our collection of Power Casual pieces that work no matter where you’re working now—at home, at the office, or some hybrid amalgamation of the two. Plus, every day we’ll be offering giveaways and fun activities with some of our favorite like-minded brands, such as Food52, Bobbi Brown, Photosesh, McNally Jackson, Papier, Girls’ Night In, and La Colombe.

Click here to find out where we’re parking near you.

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