This article appeared originally on CubicleGM.
When I’m at work, I try to keep a few stories “on tap” for those all-too-frequent cases when you find yourself grabbing a soda or standing in the elevator next to someone at work who you have nothing to talk about with. Often these situations go like this:
Me: Hey, [NAME]. Good to see you. How’s it going?
Coworker: Oh, fine. Just busy, you know? How are you?
Me: Yeah, tell me about it. I know “busy”! Busy-ness is just the way it works here at [OUR COMPANY].
Coworker: Yes, that’s definitely true…
**Awkward silence usually followed by my nervous tick, which is whistling**
Me: Alright, well, great to see you. Don’t work too hard! (Smile) Have a good one.
I do my best to avoid these situations by having a story ready for such awkward silences. They often involve sports, obviously up for last minute audibles or adjustments depending on the audience.
My current story is that I’m pretty sure I sat next to that kid J.P. from Angels in the Outfield (from 1994, honest to goodness it was that long ago) at the Dodgers/Nationals game the other night. I’m serious. I’ve got the luck of having parents with pretty good season tickets to the lackluster Nationals who periodically drop their tickets on me. I went to happy hour, then headed out to the game. Second row, first base side, next to the Nationals dugout. This kid drank a whole Country Stand Lemonade in about 14 seconds and had to go to the bathroom in a tie game in the bottom of the 8th about six minutes later. He had cotton candy, nachos, those funny little bite-size ice cream things in a cup, a pretzel.
Finish this article at CubicleGM: http://www.cubiclegm.com/2009/09/24/story-time-sidling-up-on-your-cube/