3 Tips to Have More Human Conversations at Work (3 min read)

Ah 2019, you are well and truly here.  No more mindless ‘Happy New Year’ utterances. Instead, here are 3 top tips from Georgie Nightingall, Founder & Chief Curioso @ Trigger Conversations, a Hammersmith-based startup.  

3 Tips to Have More Human Conversations at Work  

Are your conversations half-human at work?

By that I mean, conversations that are predominantly action-orientated, efficient at best and never any “emotional” stuff. And when opportunities arise to meet the real human you work with you hides behind small talk, computer screens and team events to “build” your relationship.


Real-human conversations may appear unnecessary and inefficient, but I wonder, how is that half-human approach impacting your ability to understand, collaborate and grow as a team?

Today’s working culture is creating half-humans. And this ‘modern culture’ is seeping into our relationships with colleagues, leaving us disconnected and often stuck with how to have real, human conversations.

Take for example this exchange:

“How was your weekend?” “Good thanks, you?” “Yeah, good.”

*awkward silence as don’t know what to say next… *

When was the last time you had a conversation that went something like this?

If you recognise aspects of yourself, then maybe you should read on to learn how you can have more human conversations at work…

  1. What you give to the conversation is what you’ll get.

If you want to say goodbye to small talk and hello to more meaningful, creative or simply fun conversations then it’s time to take the reins and ‘break the script’.

This means stop asking boring, generic questions and instead ask questions that invite the person to reveal a mask other than the one they wear at work. Tap into what piques their curiosity, what they value or what they dream to do.

Say someone mentions that they “went for a run along the Thames last night”. Instead of waving it off with simply a “nice!” see it as a springboard to understand more about the individual. For example, you could ask: “Have you always run?”, a question that taps into how they define themselves. Or you could try a cheeky twist on a question that asks about motivation: “What are you running from?”.


  1. Be Curious. Don’t Assume Your Map of the World Is the Same.

This is very simple. We all have a unique experience of life, so next time you’re in conversation don’t answer and question with the assumption that your maps of the world are the same. Instead adopt a curious mindset – one that acknowledges that you don’t know everything, yet are interested to discover.

For example, if someone says they need support, be curious as to what their understanding of “support” means.

When you bring curiosity into your conversations at work your ability to support and lead others will change. By noticing the uniqueness of language, it will enable you to ask powerful questions that help you strengthen your relationship and will lead to psychology supported, happy and creative teams.

  1. Within the Pauses, There is Space to Think

Silence can sometimes feel uncomfortable. And this is understandable! We’re social creatures who rely on building relationships in order to survive. Not to mention that we have built a work culture that values those who are “outgoing” and talkative.

But talking is only half of the recipe to a strong relationship. Listening is needed too.

Next time you find yourself “filling space” to avoid the dreaded silence – pause – and give both yourself and your fellow human time to think.

When you allow silence into your conversations, you invite considered, genuine answers. You also give your fellow human the opportunity to also direct the conversation. This collaborative approach to conversation makes for a richer experience and often new insights.

Trigger Conversations
 is a London-based human connection organisation using the power of conversation to create cultures that put the human back into our relationships and workplaces. As life coaches and question curators, Trigger designs label-less spaces and teaches emotionally-intelligent tools to awaken curiosity, inspire aliveness and remind people to be real. 

To date, Trigger had engineered 5,000 stimulating and meaningful conversations with over 1,300 humans at events and trainings, generating connections, collaborations and growth. 

Curious? Their Transformational Conversations Programme starts again in February 2019. Join them for a Taster Workshop on 22ndor 26th January.