Making simple conversation in business isn't too hard, but there are a few mistakes that can send a good conversation grinding to a halt. Fortunately these pitfalls are easy to avoid, if you know what they are and make the effort to stay away from them. Read on to find out what not to do when having a conversation in a business environment.
Right off the bat, you should avoid swearing or using rude language. Even if the person you're talking to uses a swear word (shame on them), you never know when a different word might still offend them. It's better to stop the flood gates from opening in the first place, and avoid such language all together. Using only polite language will also make you feel more professional.
Next, don't choose dangerous or controversial topics. Everyone knows the problems that can arise when talking about religion and politics, and talking about money or sex can be just as divisive topics which often segue uncomfortably into the other two. Do yourself (and the person you're talking to) a favor, and talk about something pleasant and uncontroversial. It helps to prepare several such topics beforehand, so you have them ready when you need them. This doesn't have to be difficult -- if you keep up with the news, you should have plenty of potential subjects to talk about.
Another thing to stay away from is overly personal questions. Don't talk about someone's spouse leaving or a drug problem or anything like that. It is okay to talk about positive events, such as a wedding or recent birth, as long as you keep it brief and don't end up talking about something mentioned in the previous paragraph (in other words, don't ask about the wedding night). Similarly, avoid talking about your own personal life. If you do mention a recent positive event in your life, be sure not to get too worked up about it. Whatever it is may be very important to you, but it's probably not nearly as interesting to people who aren't involved.
Finally, don't stay on any one topic for too long, whatever it is. Don't ramble on and on about one thing, no matter how interesting you find it. When you've been talking about one period for five to ten minutes, or if the person you're talking to starts to seem bored, move on to another topic.