Things that we all need a little reminder once in a while. For me, the following are words of wisdom:-
"The best way to handle conversation in the workplace is to keep it limited to what is necessary to do the job, cordial greetings and farewells, and become adept at friendly smiles and actually saying nothing at the water cooler or at the break room without calling attention to the fact.
What you might do, on your next job, is cultivate the "Princess Diana" strategy.
It was one of the secrets of her charm and widely noted ability to interact and enchant people from all walks of life.
In reality, it is a very common teaching, that used to be part of the basic social skill training of young girls of every culture and society.
The basic principle is very simple - listening - and recognizing the truth that everyone you will ever meet has one thing in common - their favorite topic of conversation is themselves!
While historically this is applied, as Princess Diana did, to social situations, it is also a very useful skill to have in a workplace.
When done right, you should be able to have an extended conversation with absolutely anybody, and at the end of it, you will know all about them, and they will consider that you are the most brilliant conversationalist they have ever met, and utterly charming to boot, but all they will actually have learned about you is that you also like Madame Plantier roses. Or gray poodle dogs.
Flowers and pets, as well as the weather, are the best topics for you to express any opinion on in the workplace, and even then sparingly, positive only, and always accompanied by yet another open-ended question focused on the other person's opinion, likes, etc.
Other people, will, of course, say all kinds of things to you, office gossip, their opinion on politics, religion, everything under the sun, and you just keep being a good listener, and encourage them to keep on talking about themselves with those open-ended questions about their thoughts and experiences.
Occasionally, someone will ask you a direct question that is not about flowers or dogs, and if you have developed your craft, you will be able to successfully deflect even that into a carefully-phrased open-ended and irresistible invitation to them to forget all about what they asked YOU, and launch off into another reel all about THEM!"
- thanks to ShimmaPuff from tPF for the wonderful reminder.