The art of Socratic dialogue in the form of contemporary small talk is one of the most important language skill you can develop and cultivate. In the work place your skills in small talk can be one very subtle but very real way to improve your career. Generally, people that have no problem engaging in small talk are seen as more successful individuals, and often for good reason.
Excellent small talkers are seen as more confident and outgoing individuals, and communication is absolutely critical in the business world at any level. The ability to strike up a conversation with anyone in any situation is a huge asset to have--in addition to the confidence it shows, it also gives you an opportunity to showcase your overall public speaking and conversation skills in an open venue.
Here is a practical scenario for you to consider. Picture yourself showing up for a job interview where you are presumably competing with others for a position. Odds are the person interviewing you has a stack of applications and resumes just like yours. The art of small talk can be a valuable tool used to make yourself more memorable. Try initiating the conversation first, before the formal interview begins--again, your confidence will shine through, but you are also much more likely to leave a lasting impression.
Many businesses, as a general practice, prefer to promote from within rather than hiring from the outside. Even if your conversations were limited to places such as the break room or the water cooler, the insight you provided in the past through small talk will shine through when higher positions open up. Trust that your boss or bosses will recognize the traits you have displayed through small talk, and these are the traits critical in management and higher level positions.
Yes, on the whole good small talkers tend to be more successful people, and part of this has to do with overall likability. A person who can carry on a spirited conversation with being over bearing is going to be more popular than the person who sits down and never says a word. Unfortunately we live in a world where office politics prevail, and small talking can give you the extra edge you need to capitalize on this idea. Speak to others, and more importantly, listen to them as well.
It is safe to say that being skilled in small talk is sure to have a positive impact on your current or prospective jobs, as well as your current and prospective career. Engaging in small talk can help you get ahead in more ways than one in your professional life.