You’ve got an event coming up and your boss suggests that you meet and travel together. You know that this is a great opportunity to have one to one time with her, but are not sure if you have anything in common. You start to imagine hours of uncomfortable silence, like a bad date, but one where you have to the see the person again. This could be the longest and most career-annihilating journey of your life.

Well here are some suggestions to move you from mediocre to memorable in the eyes of your boss.

The key to making small talk with your boss is to listen to what they say and pay attention to their body language. What they say and do will provide you with important information on the type of small talk that will land with them.

1. Less talk more listening

Seek first to understand before being understood

By listening and observing, you can find out:
• Their interests outside work – family, sports, music, gadgets?
• What type of information they listen to most – targets, ideas, relationships or facts and figures?
• What style or approach they are most receptive to, such as humour, thought provoking questions, fast paced banter or relaxed over coffee.

2. Make connection

Knowing what their interests are means you can ask: how are the children, family or new car? Try also to make connections with your life, if you don’t have children perhaps you can talk about a friends child or a niece of nephew. Or maybe you are thinking of going on holiday, and your boss has just been, you can ask for the inside track on the country they visited.

3. Their story

People love to share their story, ask your boss about their route to the top. They’ll be flattered into sharing the benefit of their wisdom and you’ll get some lessons for your career success. They may even ask you to share your story too, so be prepared to talk about you too.

4. Share your passion 

If you have an interesting or unusual hobby, or a passion that is appropriate to talk about in the work environment, share it with your boss. Perhaps you play a musical instrument, or practice marshal arts, or run marathons, it is helpful for your boss to see you bursting with enthusiasm, it also demonstrates you as well rounded and will help you to be memorable.

5. Be real 

Most importantly be genuine, just like you, your boss will spot fake interest a mile off. If the worse comes to the worst and conversation really does dry up bring a book to bury your nose into.

Good Luck!

My mission is to transform the world for everyone, one empowered woman at a time. I use my years of experience in coaching and leadership to inspire and motivate people, working with them to deliver career and life changing results beyond expectation. Find out more at

You may also like