The Difference Between Gossip and Small Talk

Gossip isn’t small talk (continued)

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These people have a story about everybody and everything under the sun, and can relate them at the drop of a hat. They won’t hesitate to interrupt you with an interesting tale…something they heard about, saw on TV, or read in a magazine. Exciting tales about crazy things their friends did in high school, to things they saw people at the office do.

Why is this poor conversation when there’s so much for them to talk about? It’s because these people are one-dimensional bores who live vicariously though the words and actions of others. In their minds if they can relate these things to you, you’ll somehow associate them with their stories. Even if somebody is foolish or open-minded enough to fall for this and engage in conversation with them, it will soon become apparent that speaking with this person is equivalent to speaking to a parrot with a big vocabulary, all talk and no action.

The flipside of this annoying little coin is another conversation trap which you should be aware of and avoid, shop talk. That’s right, the mechanics of inter-office politics at your job, the minute details of a project you’re working on, the reason your boss doesn’t know what he’s talking about in regards to the 32nd coefficient. This is conversation suicide. Imagine a guy who works at the IRS walking you, in excruciating detail, through a case he worked on last year which involved an improperly completed Wyoming State Business Tax form.

Shop talk doesn’t necessarily pertain to work. Anything too technical, specific or detailed, when offered unsolicited during a conversation with somebody unfamiliar or uninterested in the subject, is akin to swinging an angry skunk over your head in the middle of a crowded room