Small talk

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Polite social conversation – “small talk” is commonplace throughout the world, not just in the business environment. We encounter small talk not only in an office but for example during the lunch break, at a party or at the airport.

The ability to initiate or conduct a small talk is one of social skills.
It has several goals:

  • meeting new people
  • create a pleasant atmosphere
  • establishing a friendly relationship with subordinate
  • starting and closing discussion or conversation
  • to fill time
How to start small talk?

If you see one another for the first time, say hello and ask how the other people are.

QuestionReaction
Good morning, Mr Lorenc. How are you today?Thanks for asking, I'm fine, how are you?
Hello. How have you been keeping?Thanks, I've been keeping busy.

You may create positive atmosphere by giving a compliment. People will be pleased, they will smile and their thanks may start small talk.

ComplimentReaction
If you don't mind my saying, you are an excellent speaker.Thank you, it's very nice of you to say that.
You are looking beautiful today.Thank you. You just made my day!
What a beautiful blouse.Thank you. It's from Italian boutique.
I really enjoyed your talk this morning.Oh thanks. Yeah, it went quite well, I think.

Another way to open a conversation is asking appropriate questions.

QuestionReaction
How are enjoying the conference?Well, it's been good so far.
Have you been here before?No, I haven't actually.

Or start talking about somebody else.

QuestionReaction
Who's that guy over there?That's Klaus. He works at London office.
Do you know that blond woman over there?No, I don't. But I saw her coming out of Hilton this morning.
Which topics are used in small talk?

Topic is always dependent on the relationship you have with the other person. Generally, a short conversation should avoid complicated, serious and fundamental issues and negatively oriented communication.

Never mention the problems in your family, relationship with your spouse or your health at the first meeting or during a business meeting.

weather

conversation starters

StatementReaction
It's looking nice out today.Yes, the sun is so bright.
Beatiful day, isn't it?Yes. It's really sunny out.
Terrible weather, isn't it?Yes, it's awful.

questions and answers about weather

QuestionsReactions
What type of weather do you prefer?Personally, I love autumn. My favourite month is October, when there's no snow yet and the temperatures aren't high.
What's it like out?It's raining pretty hard out there.
We couldn't ask for a nicer day, could we?Yes, it's perfect outside.
How about this weather?It's terrible. The rain makes me feel depressed.

sport

QuestionsAnswers
Do you do any sport in your free time?I love jogging. And you?
Are you keeping up with the Ice Hokey World Championship?No, I don't. But I like watching tennis.
Are you interested in the football?Yes, I watch Champions League.
Mrs. Drake: Good afternoon!
Mrs. Fox: Hello. How are you today?
Mrs. Drake: Nothing to complain of, thanks, and you?
Mrs. Fox: I’m fine, except for all this rain. It’s raining cats and dogs again.
Mrs. Drake: Yes, it’s awful, isn’t it? I don’t have an umbrella.
Mrs. Fox: Oh, I have two. I’ll lend you one.
Mrs. Drake: Thank you very much.
Mrs. Fox: I hope you don’t mind, but I just had to say how beautiful you are looking today. I like your skirt. It looks great on you. I wish I could wear pink.
Mrs. Drake: Thank you, I think you’d look great in pink actually!
Mrs. Fox: Do you think so? I’ll think of trying it.
Mrs. Drake: It was good to see you again.
Mrs. Fox: Have a good day.
Mrs. Drake: Take care.
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Gabriela Kašparová
Lector and language consultant. Studied English at the Faculty of Education. Having worked as an English tutor at nursery school, she got experience with working with children with learning disability. During her 8-year experience with teaching adults she has implemented her findings from learning children and has created simple and transparent explanations of complicated grammar features. Teaching both children and adults, she keeps encouraging them not to fear a foreign language and to learn with pleasure.

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