Don't Be so Hard on Yourself. A recent study found that people "systematically underestimated how much their conversation partners liked them and enjoyed their company.”. Plan Ahead. Consider stories or questions that relate to your field and also that you personally care about for small talk moments. Avoid the “How Are You?” Loop . Adding why you're "good" is a solid strategy. "I'm good. Went on a great hike last night. What do you like to do after work?". Remember: Small Talk Is Meant to Be Short. You’re not supposed to spend too much time chatting. After a few moments you can reference a meeting or project you are supposed to work on, Jamie Terran, Career Coach, via 'The New York Times'. Silence Is Okay Every Now and Then. If you're having a tough day and know that small talk will be a bad idea, pop in some headphones. Your co-workers will get the message.