Most small talk builds bridges with customers. These topics can burn them quickly.
You know to avoid religion, sex and politics when talking with customers. Stay away from these potential disasters, too:
- Illness – yours or anyone else’s ill health. It’s a downer and makes customers either hope they don’t get it or think about how awful it is.
- A bad boss, policy or job. Complaining is an instant drain on conversations. If you think something is unfair, keep it under wraps.
- A boring task. If it doesn’t interest you, it won’t interest anyone else. Instead, talk about things that make you enthusiastic. Deal with what bores you.
- Hard-to-relate hobbies. If you do something that others have never done or heard of, it might not be a good topic. But don’t abolish it completely: The novelty could intrigue others. If they say, “Tell me more,” do so, but avoid acronyms and technical language about it.
- Bad or creepy news. Stalkers, murderers and morticians who don’t bury the bodies are just a few of the subjects that make people uncomfortable.