As a former sales person I have a good understanding of the meaning of small talk in business. While Finnish people are, lets say, not that familiar with the topic, there were couple countries on the materials that really do or do not appreciate small talk. Those countries caught my interest and I will be discussing about the small talk habits of Germany and France on this essay.
Lets begin from small talk and clarify what does it mean and what is its purpose. How I understand small talk is to respect others and the purpose is to create trust and find a mutual neutral ground with the other person. Someone might say that ”No, its not for that, it’s for finding the need!”. Yes, that is completely right. The most crucial need for customer or other business person is to trust you. He is doing business with you and might be considering buying from you, so he needs to trust you, your there wont be any business happening. The best way for two people to find trust in eachother (and I highlight the word eachother, because there are always two people doing business) is to find an neutral setting where they can both be themselves. Well, as you may know the neutral ground can be found many ways.
In German where they want to head straight into discussing the business matter and not wasting the time. I’m not going to argue if they have bad skills in small talk, but I’m going to throw an idea. Could it be their way of doing the small talk? Atleast thats how small talk is descriped in literature ”Small talk is a short-term discussion that aims to form, maintain and promote social relationships.” So by that I would say that Germans are really good at it, like ”Lets talk business and see what kind of person you are.” For a person who gets frustrated from all different kinds of meetings and get togethers, I would say thats perfect!
France was mentioned that, get ready to stay on lunch for two hours, since they are enjoying them longer in France. So as we went through about talking the small talk habits of Germans, we can clearly see, the difference between them and French. How I see the French way of having small talk, is over lunch and long conversations about personal matters and much deeper thoughts, and who knows maybe some poetry.
Some might say ”Well is’nt that a stupid way of doing things” or ”Why would they act like that”. Thats how they have lived and by understanding their point of view, you give respect to the other person. What I think after reading the materials, is that you can find small talk in every country, but the habits to use it differentiate and to find the mutual neutral ground through respecting the other persons in the way they are used to and the best way to do that is to study their ways and when you learn them, the other person can see that you have spent time and you really respect them.
These two countries that were the point of discussion here are a complete opposites, when compared by small talk in business. I mentioned that it’s their way of communicating and doing the small talk, but I also believe that there could be a common way for people to communicate with each other. In Finland it’s pretty common to hear someone say ”its basic common thinking” which finnish people usually use when someone does something wrong and someone wants to give their logical explanation to how it should have been done.
Last week we had student visitors from Brno, Chezch, in our school and I spent time with them for one day. What I learned from them but also from other people I have met from abroad is that they are very well behaving people and their ways dont differentiate from ours that much. So that leaves me in to hypothesis is that politics, believes and things we grow up to decide the way we behave in our own regions.
This topic reminds of the movie ”The Arrival”, where bunch of UFOs (unknown flying objects) land on earth and humans enter them. Inside the UFOs they start to interact with the aliens and the aliens start teaching humans about their way of communicating which is lightyears or better say ways ahead of humans. Their way of communicating is simultaneously communicating feelings, words etcetra in one hieroglyph. In the movie it is explained that humans way of communication is very primitive, even though we are capable of communicating with each other, but we have to use body language, words, voice to imply how we feel and usually it is hard for people that are new to us to understand what we mean or how we feel. So this brings me into a conclusion that homo sapiens as an race is still very primitive when it comes to communicating with each other and there is still long way to go for us to feel and be as one as humanity. We are still a primitive race when it comes to communication, but there are signs that we have what it takes to be one, sadly it usually takes chaotic moments such as climate change. Though I’m feeling some relief from our generation and from the next to be able to use common thinking and be able to communicate with each other as one human to the other.
Movie: The Arrival