"Why can't we skip all the chit chat and actually connect about the important things?"
The older I get (and the more involved I get with tech-based networks) the more I get it.
Small talk is the social protocol for authentication.
If the other person shares the same process, we can reasonably trust they're "one of us."
This leads to deeper connection and the result is more bandwidth available to more info transfer.
It's why when I go to another country, I'm not privy to the same secrets, back room deals, or any other human interaction that requires a high degree of trust.
I don't know their protocols.
Through that process we establish a lot about another person and evaluate their trustworthiness (and thereby our likelihood of continued connection).