What are your plans for the weekend?
Most people can’t wait for the weekend. It is the finish line for the week, and it gives us time to see friends, work on personal projects, or just to decompress. Instead of asking if they have plans, ask what they are excited about. Still an open ended question, it focuses more on what they’re passionate about, which is easier to strike up conversation. By the time they’re done, your papers are done printing!
Holidays or vacation coming up? Perfect!
Just like talking about the weekend, holidays and time off work can be an interesting topic and can help you learn more about people. While the business copiers are working, ask where in the world they would go on vacation! They could say a beach trip to Mexico or a week long trip to New York. Going to the beach is relaxing and sightseeing in New York could mean they’re adventurous. One simple question could help give you some insight on your coworkers and what they enjoy.
Knowing a little does a lot
You might already know some of your coworkers on a surface level. Does John over there like to cook? You could ask him what’s the easiest, fastest meal to make. Maybe it takes less time to prepare that meal than it takes for the business copiers to finish with papers. Have you noticed Karen talking about crossfit lately? Ask her how she got into it or find out what her favorite workout is.
Just like there are topics to avoid at the dinner table, the same goes for small talk with your coworkers. Usually politics and religion can rub people the wrong way. Talking about the weather usually isn’t fun, but with Arkansas weather it could be snowing one day and hot enough to go for a swim the next. But for the most part, nobody is going to find it interesting that it is 3 degrees colder today than yesterday. Finally, business copiers shouldn’t be the place for gossip. Talking about other coworkers, no matter how innocent it may be, will always have a negative undertone to the conversation. Keep it light, keep it positive, keep it open ended!
Make sure once you’re done at the copier, you don’t abruptly leave. A simple “see you around” will work. And who knows, you might actually start something that is more than just an office friendship (we’re looking at you, Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley)!