Interpersonal talking style


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Interpersonal talking style

  2. 2. Making Small Talk Training
  3. 3. In most English-speaking countries, it is normal and necessaryto make “small talk” in certain situations. Small talk is a casual form ofconversation that “breaks the ice” or fills an awkward silence betweenpeople. The ability to make ‘small talk’ is highly valued. In fact, manyEnglish students agree that making effective small talk is much moreimportant than knowing correct grammar structures – and rightly so!Small talk gets friendship started and ‘breaks the ice’ before importantbusiness meetings and other events. Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  4. 4. What is small talk?Small talk is pleasant conversation about common interests. Even though you may feel shyusing your second language, it is sometimes considered rude to say nothing. So making lightinformal 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 forshared ground. Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  5. 5. WHO makes small talk?People with many different relationships use small talk. The most common type of people touse small talk are those who do not know each other at all. It is also common to people whoare only acquaintances, often called a “friend of a friend”, to use small talk. Other peoplewho have short casual conversations are office employees who may not be good friends butwork in the same department. Customer service representatives, waitresses, hairdressersand receptionists often make small talk with customers. Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  6. 6. WHAT do people make small talk about? Subjects that are not considered “Safe” topics: acceptable:  Weather  Personal information  Current events  Salaries  Sports news  Recent divorce  Entertainment news  Religion  Politics Compliments on clothing or hair are acceptable Never say something (good or bad) about person’s body. Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  7. 7. 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 personbeside you waiting to get on an airplane. People also make small talk in a doctor’s ordentist’s waiting room, or in queues at the grocery store. At the office, people make smalltalk in elevators or lunch rooms and even in restrooms, especially if there is a line-up. Somesocial events (such as party) require small talk among guests who do not know each othervery well. Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  8. 8. WHEN do people make small talk? 1 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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 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. Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  9. 9. 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 Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  10. 10. Small Talk: Conversation Starters Talking about the weather • Beautiful day, isn’t it? Waiting somewhere • It looks like going to snow. • It sure would be nice to be in Hawaii right about now. • I didn’t think it would be so easy today. • I hear they’re calling for thunder storms all weekend. • You look like you’ve got your hands full • We couldn’t ask for a nicer day, could we? (with children or goods). • How about this weather? • The bus must be running late today. • Did you order this sunshine? • 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? At the office • Looking forward to the weekend? At a social event • Have you worked here long? • I can’t believe how busy/quiet we are today, can you? • So, how do you know Justin? • Has it been a long week? • Have you tried to cabbage rolls that Sandy made? • You look like you could use a cup of coffee. • Are you enjoying yourself? • What do you think of the new computers? • It looks like you could use another drink. • Pretty nice place, huh? • I love your dress. Can I ask where you got it? Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  11. 11. 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? Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  12. 12. 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. Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  13. 13. How to Improve Small Talk SkillsUse the Internet to gain specific vocabularyThis is related to doing research about other people. If you have a businessmeeting, or are meeting people who share common interest (a basketballteam, a tour group interested in art, etc.), take advantage of the Internet tolearn specific vocabulary. Almost all business and interest groups haveglossaries on the Internet explaining the most important jargon related totheir business or activity.Ask yourself about your cultureTake time to make a list of common interests that are discussed whenmaking 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 smalltalk about those subjects. Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  14. 14. How to Improve Small Talk Skills 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! Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  15. 15. 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! Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  16. 16. 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. Outsourcing to Softheme™ Training: Making Small Talk
  17. 17. Thank you! Questions? → info@softheme.com2010 | Softheme Team | Kyiv, Ukraine | Software Outsourcing Solutions » Outsourcing to Softheme™