Written by Salina Jivani
Remember in elementary school when you were always in trouble for talking too much? Turns out when you enter the workplace, those early childhood rules of staying focused on work and limiting conversation don’t apply, because chatter isn’t so bad after all—especially when it’s happening at the water cooler or even as you’re swinging by a colleague’s desk.
According to researchers at the University of Michigan, based on a study, small talk can actually make you better at your job. Before you spout that tid bit of information out to your manager, let’s talk about how these researchers came to this conclusion.
In the study, the researchers separated the study participants into different research groups:
One group was asked to spend 10 minutes conversing with one other to get to know the other participants, and then after those 10 minutes were up, they were given several cognitive tests to finish.
The second group was asked to engage in competition-based talk with one another for the first 10 minutes, and once that time was up, they were handed the same cognitive tests as the first group.
The third group, or the control group, was given the cognitive tests to complete as soon as they arrived, without being offered the opportunity to converse.
Of these groups, the first group performed significantly better on the tests, indicating their brain’s superior performance in executive functions, or mental processes that control focus, organization, prioritization, and planning.
So what does that mean in layman’s terms? It means that having some healthy chatter at the office can actually help you perform better at many aspects your job.
Take that for break room discussion!