Making Small Talk
www.softheme.com
Training
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
In most English-speaking countries, it is normal and...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
What is small talk?
Small talk is pleasant conversat...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
WHO makes small talk?
People with many different rel...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
WHAT do people make small talk about?
“Safe” topics:...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
WHERE do people make small talk?
Most often small ta...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
WHEN do people make small talk?
Another good time to...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
WHY do people make small talk?
There are a few diffe...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
Small Talk: Conversation Starters
Talking about the ...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
Small Talk: Conversation Starters
Talking about curr...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
How to Improve Small Talk Skills
Do some research
Sp...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
Use the Internet to gain specific vocabulary
This is...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
Find common interests
Once you have a subject that i...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
List of common small talk subjects
 Sports – curren...
www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
Topics that probably are not very good for small tal...
Thank you!
2010 | Softheme Team | Kyiv, Ukraine | Software Outsourcing Solutions
www.softheme.com » Outsourcing to Softhem...
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Training: Making Small Talk

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In most English-speaking countries, it is normal and necessary to make “small talk” in certain situations. Small talk is a casual form of conversation that “breaks the ice” or fills an awkward silence between people. The ability to make ‘small talk’ is highly valued. In fact, many English students agree that making effective small talk is much more important than knowing correct grammar structures – and rightly so! Small talk gets friendship started and ‘breaks the ice’ before important business meetings and other events.

Published in: Education

Training: Making Small Talk

  1. 1. Making Small Talk www.softheme.com Training
  2. 2. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk In most English-speaking countries, it is normal and necessary to make “small talk” in certain situations. Small talk is a casual form of conversation that “breaks the ice” or fills an awkward silence between people. The ability to make ‘small talk’ is highly valued. In fact, many English students agree that making effective small talk is much more important than knowing correct grammar structures – and rightly so! Small talk gets friendship started and ‘breaks the ice’ before important business meetings and other events.
  3. 3. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk What is small talk? Small talk is pleasant conversation about common interests. Even though you may feel shy using your second language, it is sometimes considered rude to say nothing. So making light informal conversation for the sake of the conversation is a form of social skills. In small talk we express ourselves in the details of what we talk about, the words we use, the ones we don’t, how far we lean forward, how tentatively or aggressively we probe for shared ground.
  4. 4. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk WHO makes small talk? People with many different relationships use small talk. The most common type of people to use small talk are those who do not know each other at all. It is also common to people who are only acquaintances, often called a “friend of a friend”, to use small talk. Other people who have short casual conversations are office employees who may not be good friends but work in the same department. Customer service representatives, waitresses, hairdressers and receptionists often make small talk with customers.
  5. 5. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk WHAT do people make small talk about? “Safe” topics:  Weather  Current events  Sports news  Entertainment news Compliments on clothing or hair are acceptable Subjects that are not considered acceptable:  Personal information  Salaries  Recent divorce  Religion  Politics Never say something (good or bad) about person’s body.
  6. 6. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk WHERE do people make small talk? Most often small talk occurs in places where people are waiting for something. For example, you might chat with another person who is waiting for the bus to arrive, or to the person beside you waiting to get on an airplane. People also make small talk in a doctor’s or dentist’s waiting room, or in queues at the grocery store. At the office, people make small talk in elevators or lunch rooms and even in restrooms, especially if there is a line-up. Some social events (such as party) require small talk among guests who do not know each other very well.
  7. 7. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk WHEN do people make small talk? Another good time to make small talk during a break in a meeting or presentation when there is nothing important going on. Finally, it is important to recognize the cue when the other person wants the conversation to stop. Do not interrupt two people in order to discuss something unimportant such as the weather. If someone is reading a book or writing a letter at the bus stop it is not appropriate to initiate a conversation either. If there is very little noise that might be an indication that it is the right time to initiate a casual conversation. You should only spark up a conversation after someone smiles and acknowledges you. The most come time to small talk to occur is the first time you see or meet someone on a given day. For example, if you see a co- worker in the lounge you might say hello and discuss the sports or weather. However, the nest time you see each other you might just smile and say nothing. 1 2 3 4
  8. 8. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk WHY do people make small talk? There are a few different reasons why people use small talk:  To break an uncomfortable silence  To fill time  To be polite
  9. 9. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk Small Talk: Conversation Starters Talking about the weather • Beautiful day, isn’t it? • It looks like going to snow. • It sure would be nice to be in Hawaii right about now. • I hear they’re calling for thunder storms all weekend. • We couldn’t ask for a nicer day, could we? • How about this weather? • Did you order this sunshine? At the office • Looking forward to the weekend? • Have you worked here long? • I can’t believe how busy/quiet we are today, can you? • Has it been a long week? • You look like you could use a cup of coffee. • What do you think of the new computers? At a social event • So, how do you know Justin? • Have you tried to cabbage rolls that Sandy made? • Are you enjoying yourself? • It looks like you could use another drink. • Pretty nice place, huh? • I love your dress. Can I ask where you got it? Waiting somewhere • I didn’t think it would be so easy today. • You look like you’ve got your hands full (with children or goods). • The bus must be running late today. • It looks like we are going to be here a while, huh? • I’ll have to remember not to come here on Mondays. • How long have you been waiting?
  10. 10. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk Small Talk: Conversation Starters Talking about current events • Did you catch the news today? • Did you hear about that fire on Fourth St? • What do you think about this transit strike? • I read in the paper today that the Sears Mall is closing. • I heard on the radio today that they are finally going to start building the new bridge. • How about those Reds? Do you think they’re going to win tonight? Out for a walk • How old’s your baby? • The tulips are sure beautiful at this time of year, aren’t they? • How do you like the new park? • Nice day to be outside, isn’t it?
  11. 11. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk How to Improve Small Talk Skills Do some research Spend time on the Internet, reading magazines, or watching TV specials about the type of people you are going to meet. For example: If you are having a conference call with colleagues from other countries, take time to do some research. They will appreciate your interest in their land and your conversation will be much more interesting. Stay away from religion/strong political beliefs While you may believe in something very strongly, beginning conversation and making small talk about your own personal convictions may abruptly end the conversation. Keep it light, don’t try to convince the other person that you have the ‘correct’ information about a higher being, political system or other belief system.
  12. 12. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk Use the Internet to gain specific vocabulary This is related to doing research about other people. If you have a business meeting, or are meeting people who share common interest (a basketball team, a tour group interested in art, etc.), take advantage of the Internet to learn specific vocabulary. Almost all business and interest groups have glossaries on the Internet explaining the most important jargon related to their business or activity. Ask yourself about your culture Take time to make a list of common interests that are discussed when making small talk in your own culture. You can do this in your own language, but check to make sure that you have the English vocabulary to make small talk about those subjects. How to Improve Small Talk Skills
  13. 13. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk Find common interests Once you have a subject that interests both of you, keep to it! You can do this in a number of ways: talking about travel, talking about the friend or colleague you have in common, talking about the differences between your culture and the new culture (just be careful to make comparisons and not judgments, i.e. “The food in our country is better than the food here in England”). Listen This is very important. Don’t get so worried about being able to communicate that you doesn’t listen. Listening carefully will help you understand and encourage those speaking to you. You might be nervous, but letting others state their opinions will improve the quality of the discussion – and give you time to think of an answer! How to Improve Small Talk Skills
  14. 14. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk List of common small talk subjects  Sports – current matches or games, favorite teams, etc.  Hobbies  Weather – boring, but can get the ball rolling!  Family – general questions, not questions about private matters  Media – films, books, magazines, etc.  Holidays – where, when, etc. but NOT how much!  Home town – where do you come from, how is different/similar to this town  Job – once again, general questions not too specific  Latest fashion and trends  Celebrities – any gossip you may have!
  15. 15. www.softheme.com Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk Topics that probably are not very good for small talk  Salary – how much do you make? – That’s none of your business!  Politics – wait till you get to know the person better  Intimate relationships – only for you and your partner – or maybe your best friend  Religion – tolerance is the key!  Death – we need to face it. But not the first time we meet someone new  Financial – most people prefer to keep financial information to themselves  Sales – Don’t try to sell something to someone you have just met.
  16. 16. Thank you! 2010 | Softheme Team | Kyiv, Ukraine | Software Outsourcing Solutions www.softheme.com » Outsourcing to Softheme™ Questions? → info@softheme.com
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