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A Key Skill in the American Professional Culture (Los Angeles)

If you are new in the American Workplace or are trying to relocate to the United States for a new life and career direction, you will quickly notice that small talk plays an important role in the American professional culture.

As Professor Andy Molinsky said, "You can be the most technically skilled worker in the world, but your ability to move up the corporate ladder is highly dependent on your ability to build and maintain positive relationships with people at work. And for better or worse, one of the keys to that, at least in the United States, is an ability to make effective small talk."

What is a small talk by the way?
It's a polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions. The first objective of that conversation is to establish enough common ground to determine a reason to connect again.

A small talk will usually starts when someone asks you questions, such as “Hey, how are you?” “How’s it going?”

But in the United States, very often people don't expect others to provide an actual, elaborated answer to such questions. In most cases, this may just actually be a ritualized way of greeting. In fact, a long, elaborated answer to the question of “How’s it going?” would likely be inappropriate for most people in the U.S.

Still, in the American business and social settings, most people use small talk as a way to build and establish connections and to set the stage for potentially deeper relationships. And it is an essential skill for whoever wants to succeed in building trust and establishing lasting business and social relationships.

If you want to understand why small talks are important for Americans and want to learn how to develop your own personal version in a way that is interesting and memorable, check out these articles:
- The Big Challenge of American Small Talk
- Become the Most Interesting Small Talker in the Room
- Hate Small Talk? These 5 Questions Will Help You Work Any Room

In the end, here is my final advice: always be yourself, be genuinely interested in others and trust your inner voice!

Los Angeles Forum