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TOPIC: How To Make Small Talk In English | 쓸만한 영어 - 스몰톡

How To Make Small Talk In English | 쓸만한 영어 - 스몰톡 3 years 4 days ago #7535

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How to Make Small Talk in English: A Guide for Everyone

One of the biggest communication problems many Korean students have is making small talk, especially in an office environment where they see the same people every day. In this series of lessons we are going to teach you a few ways you can become more successful at making small talk with colleagues and acquaintances that you see every day in the office.

Definition
small talk (n.): making polite and friendly conversation to create a good mood or atmosphere



We will cover the following topics:

1. Office small talk specific to weekdays | 사무실에서 평일에 스몰톡/이야기

2. Good Follow-up Questions/Statements | 좋은 대화를 만드는 좋은 질문

3. How to make small talk in the morning | 아침 대화/스몰톡

4. How to make small talk in the afternoon | 오후 대화/스몰톡

5. Small talk at conferences and meetings | 비즈니스 메팅/컨벤션에서의 스몰톡

Note: Although these lessons are mainly aimed at helping you make small talk with people in the office or workplace, they will also help you make small talk in many other situations.

Communication Tip: Making Small Talk



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Making Small Talk: A Daily Guide | 사무실에서 평일에 스몰톡 3 years 4 days ago #7536

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Small Talk Depending On the Day of the Week | 사무실에서 평일에 스몰톡

Knowing what to say and when to say it can be difficult, especially when making small talk in a workplace or office setting. In this lesson you are going to learn how to make conversation with people you see or work with on a daily basis.

The trick to making conversation with people in the office is to know what to say or what to ask on each specific day of the week.

If you follow our tips below we are sure you will be making small talk like a pro in no time.



What Day + What to Say

Monday: On Monday people often want to talk about what they did on the weekend, so try the following questions.
1. Hey, Steve. How was your weekend?
2. Hi. Did you have a good weekend?
3. Did you do anything on the weekend?

Monday is also a great day to find out if the person you are talking to is going to be busy this week.
1. Are you ready for the busy week?
2. Do you have a busy week planned this week?
3. Do you have much on your plate today/this week?

Tuesday: On Tuesday you can ask people about the weekend just passed (if you did not already do so on Monday).
1. I didn’t see you yesterday. How was your weekend?
2. I know it’s already Tuesday, but did you do anything special last weekend?

Alternatively you can use Tuesday to ask people how their day/week will be.
1. Is this week going to be busy?
2. Do you have a busy day/week planned?
3. Do you expect to be busy today/this week?

Wednesday: This is the day where it is normal to focus on the week so far, or on the day to come.
1. How’s your week going?
2. Have you had a good week so far?
3. (Hi, Steve.) Busy day today?

Thursday: Since Thursday is close to the weekend you can either ask about the person’s plans for the weekend (if it is Thursday afternoon and if you are not going to see them on Friday), or ask about the week so far (or their day so far if it is Thursday afternoon). Of course, you can also just ask if they have anything important to do today.
1. How’s your week going?
2. Any plans for tonight? | Any plans after work?
3. Almost the weekend, any plans?

Friday: Today is the day you can freely ask about plans for the weekend, or how someone’s week was.
1. Friday at last! Have you had a good week?
2. Any plans for the weekend?
3. Are you going out tonight, or heading home to get some rest?

Vocabulary:
do (something) like a pro (exp.): be very good at something (pro = professional)
have (something) on your plate (exp.): to have something to do; many things to do
head (v.): to go or travel in a direction

Check out this short video on: Asking Questions & Communicating in English.



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쓸만한 영어 - 스몰톡 | Small Talk Follow-up Questions and Statements 2 years 11 months ago #7542

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In the previous post we looked at how to start small talk in the office. In this post, we will teach you some possible follow-up questions and statements you can use to make your office conversations progress smoothly.

Communication Tip: Remember, making small talk is not just a matter of asking one question and then walking away. Try to ask two or three questions before excusing yourself to return to work.

The follow-up questions and statements listed below might help you make better small talk, but remember, they are a guide only. Make sure you match the follow-up question/statement to the response the person provides to your opening question.

Follow-up Questions to – “How was your weekend/night?”
The following questions can be used after asking someone how their weekend or night was, just make sure to match the question to their response.

* What did you do? = Used when someone says their weekend was “good” or ‘bad”
* How was it? = Used when someone tells you exactly what they did on the weekend/night
* Who with? = Used when someone tells you exactly what they did on the weekend/night
* Why was/wasn’t it good? = Used when someone has told you how something was

Note: The above questions show you are interested in your coworker.

Follow-up Statements to – “How was your weekend/night?”
Use the following statements if someone tells you they did something specific (e.g. they saw a movie, they went for dinner).

* Sounds relaxing. = Used when someone tells you they relaxed or did something passive
* That sounds good/terrible. = Used to show empathy for someone
* Lucky you. = Used to show you think what the person did was good or enjoyable

Note: The above statements show you listened to what the other person said and allows you to offer your opinion to show you listened.

Follow-up Statements to – “Have you got a busy day/week?” / “Do you have much on your plate?”
Use these statements to comment on the information someone told you (e.g. I’m going to be busy, I’m not so busy).

* That’s no good. = Used to show empathy or care
* Sounds tough. = Used to show empathy or care, especially if the person is very busy
* That sounds good. = Used when someone has an easy week or something fun to do at work
* Happy to hear it. = Used when someone is expecting good news or has an easy day
* Lucky you. = Used when someone has an easy week or something fun to do at work

Note: The above statements show you listened to what you coworker said in relation to how busy they are.

Follow-up Statements to Encourage Your Coworkers
If your coworker tells you they have had a hard week or day, or will have a hard week or day, then you can encourage them with the following statements.

* Keep at it. = Used when someone tells you they have to work hard
* Don’t work too hard. = Used as a way of ending a conversation – an encouraging expression
* Hang in there. = Used in a similar way to “Don’t give up”
* Don’t give up. = Used when someone tells you they have to work hard or when something is difficult for them

Note: The statements above are a great way of ending small talk so you can both return to your work.



Follow-up Questions to – “Do you have plans this weekend/tonight?”
Use the following questions to learn more about what your coworker will do on the weekend/tonight.

* What will you do? = Used to ask for more information about what the person will do
* Have you done that before? = Used to continue a conversation about a stated activity
* Where is that? = Used to continue the conversation

Note: Try to show a genuine interest in what your coworker said they will do or else your questions sound a little fake.

Follow-up Statements for Friday
Want to make someone feel good on a Friday? Try one of these statements.

* It’s Friday, we made it! = Used to celebrate the upcoming weekend
* Have a great weekend. = Used as a nice way of saying goodbye on a Friday
* Don’t drink too much. = Used when someone tells you they are going out to a bar; used as friendly expression related to enjoying the weekend or evening

Note: The above expressions are used just to make a nice mood – don’t take them too literally.

Bonus Vocabulary
Keep at it (exp.): don’t give up
Don’t work too hard (exp.); said to encourage people who have to work
Have (something) on your plate (exp.): to have something to do; many things to do
Hang in there (exp.): don’t give up; keep going (usually said to encourage someone)

Note: Always be positive with your reactions, even if what the person says they did (or what they will do) sounds boring to you.

Final Tip: Remember, small talk is supposed to me short. Don’t ask too many questions, and don’t talk for too long when someone asks you a question. Keep the conversation light and brief, especially if you don’t know the person you are speaking to very well.

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쓸만한 영어 - 스몰톡 | Morning Small Talk & Greetings 2 years 11 months ago #7557

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So far in this series on ‘Making Small Talk in English’ we have learned that there are certain ways we can make small talk depending on the day of the week. In this free English lesson, we are going to continue teaching you how to make small talk in English by teaching you how to make small talk with the colleagues you meet in the morning.

Small Talk and Morning Greetings!

Check out the following dialogues to see how Chuck starts conversations with various people he meets in the morning. Use the analysis below each dialogue to help you better understand the conversation strategies Chuck and his coworkers use (Note: Small talk is not as simple as it seems.).



Dialogues

1. Situation: Chuck talking to the receptionist at the front desk of his office.
Chuck: Hey, Ben. How are you today?
Ben: Great, thanks. You?
Chuck: (Smiling and walking to his desk) Pretty good. Have a great day.
Ben: You too. Don’t work too hard.
Chuck (Ha ha): I never do.

Analysis: Examine the points below to understand the above conversation better.
1. Chuck greets someone (of possibly lower status within the company) in a friendly way. - Acknowledging someone to make them feel good.
2. Ben remembers to ask how Chuck is (“Great, thanks. You?”). – Mutual respect.
3. Chuck keeps the conversation brief, but polite. – Not wasting Ben’s time, but still showing respect and kindness.
4. Ben tells Chuck not to work too hard, so Chuck laughs and explains he never works hard. – Sharing a joke for rapport building.

____________

2. Situation: Chuck is talking to the colleague who sits next to him in the office.
Chuck: Wow, you’re here early.
Paul: Yeah, I’ve got a busy day today.
Chuck: Really? Good busy or bad busy?
Paul: Bad busy (Not looking up from his computer). I forgot my client needed this report today..
Chuck: Oh, damn! Sorry to hear that. Anything I can do to help?
Paul: No, no. It’s OK, but thanks.
Chuck: OK, I’ll let you get on with it; let me know if you need anything.

Analysis: Examine the points below to understand the above conversation better.
1. Instead of using a question to start small talk, Chuck greeted his colleague with a friendly statement. – Acknowledging someone to make them feel good.
2. Not looking up from his computer, Paul stated that he was busy. This very subtly implied that he didn’t have much time to talk. – Subtle hint (For more on implied speech and its uses click here .)
3. Chuck shows he understands Paul’s situation (“Oh, damn! Sorry to hear that.”) – Showing empathy.
4. Chuck offered to help his coworker, but his coworker understood that Chuck was probably just being polite and so declined his offer of assistance. – Reading the situation and rapport building.

____________

3. Situation: Chuck greets a coworker he sees at the coffee shop near his office (Chuck and the coworker are not really close friends, they just work together.)
Chuck: Hi, Sally.
Sally: Hey, Chuck.
Chuck: Coffee time, hey?
Sally: Yeah, I really need it this morning.
Chuck: Yeah, me too. Do you have a busy day today?
Sally: Not so busy. You?
Chuck: Fairly busy, but not too bad. Anyway, enjoy your coffee, I must get back to the office.

Analysis: Examine the points below to understand the above conversation better.
1. Chuck made a connection by mentioning it must be ‘coffee time.’ – Building rapport.
2. Sally responded in a friendly way by elaborating on the importance of coffee this morning. – Building rapport and making an effort to be engaging.
3. Both Chuck and Sally kept the conversation light. – Reducing the burden for deep conversation in the morning between coworkers who don’t really know each other.
4. Chuck leaves the conversation by explaining why he has to leave (whether the excuse is true or not is irrelevant) and by telling Sally to enjoy her coffee. – Rapport building and a gracious exit.

As you can see, small talk in the morning between coworkers is usually kept light and brief. It is used mainly to show respect and kindness, it is not really used in the same way as you would use small talk at a party or business convention.

Bonus Vocabulary
good busy or bad busy (set question): used to ask if being busy is good or bad
subtle (adj.): hard to detect; small
deep (adj.): serious or requiring thought
gracious (adj.): courteous, kind, and pleasant
light (adj.): not serious
irrelevant (adj.): not important or connected

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Small Talk at Conferences and Business Meetings 2 years 10 months ago #7573

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Meeting a business associate at a business conference/convention: At various times in your career you might find yourself standing or sitting next to someone at a conference. In this situation, you can start making small talk easily by talking about anything related to the conference. Remember, asking good questions related to the topic being discussed is key to making a good impression.

The Basics: Introduce yourself (but, this does not have to be the first thing you do - you can just start a conversation with a good question)
Safe Topics: the conference; the weather; food (especially food served at the convention/conference); transport (especially if the convention/conference is hard to get to)
1. Are you enjoying the conference?
2. Which company do you work for?
3. Why did you come to the conference/convention?

Bonus Tip: If the person you are speaking to appears to be from overseas, you can simply ask them where they are from.

Follow-up questions: Make sure you remember to ask good follow-up questions.
Good follow-up questions: A good follow-up question shows you are interested in what the person just said and the topic being discussed.
1. Why did you come to conference? | Is it what you expected?
2. How long have you worked for …? | What is you role?
3. Is this your first time coming to this conference? | Do you know any of the speakers?

Things to Remember

Making a connection: If one of your goals is to meet new people at the conference you are going to have to be able to make and lead a conversation. This starts with a simple ‘hello’.

Leading a conversation: Now you have broken the ice, you have to be able to lead the conversation. This means you are going to have to be able to ask questions and offer your opinion on things. No one wants to talk to someone who has no opinions or shows no interest in them (remember, you show interest by asking questions).

Don’t be shy: This is not the place to be shy. If you are shy, people might not think you are shy, they might think you are rude, boring, or just disinterested.

Final Thoughts

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” - Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Vocabulary
impression (n.): an idea, feeling, or opinion about someone or something
lead (v.): control or be in charge of
break the ice (idiom): to make small talk to meet new people
opinion (n.): thoughts or ideas on something
disinterested (adj.): not interested in; bored

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Small Talk in the Afternoon 5 months 1 day ago #7685

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Making Small Talk In The Afternoon

In a previous English lesson on making small talk, we learned how to make small talk with people we see in the morning. In this post we are going to learn how to make small talk with people we meet in an office environment in the afternoon.

Check out the following dialogues to see how Chuck starts conversations with various people he meets in the afternoon. Use the analysis below each dialogue to help you get a better understanding of the conversation strategies Chuck and his coworkers use.

Dialogues

Situation: Chuck is making small talk with the office receptionist after lunch.
Chuck: I’m back; miss me?
Ben: No, not really (Ha ha). How was lunch?
Chuck: (Ha ha) Lunch was wonderful; I had salad.
Ben: Salad? Are you on a diet?
Chuck: Not at all. I just felt like something healthy. Anyway, time to get back to work.

Analysis: Examine the points below to help you understand the above conversation.
1. Chuck made sure to greet the receptionist – Failing to greet someone is often considered rude.
2. Ben made sure he showed interest in Chuck by asking what he had for lunch. – Rapport building.
3. Chuck excuses himself by saying he has to get back to work.

Key Point: Sharing a joke or a few insignificant words can really help build relationships between people. So, make sure you make small talk when the opportunity arises. Just remember not to talk for too long.

_____________

Situation: Chuck returns from lunch and greets the colleague who sits next to him.
Chuck: Hey, buddy. You had lunch yet?
Paul: (Looking up from his computer) Yeah…Why?
Chuck: Just checking. If you hadn’t, I was going to recommend this new salad place.
Paul: Oh yeah? Good?
Chuck: Yeah! I just ate there. Their cakes are to die for and their coffee is divine.
Paul: Really? Sounds great. Prices?
Chuck: Pretty reasonable. Anyway, I’ll let you get back to it, I can see you are busy. But if you want to check it out some day just let me know.
Paul: Cool, thanks.

Analysis: Examine the points below to help you understand the above conversation.
1. Chuck makes small talk by checking to see if his coworker has eaten. – Showing concern.
2. Paul, although he was busy, spared a few seconds to be kind. – Relationship maintenance.
3. Chuck understood Paul was busy so he tried to end the conversation very quickly.
4. Chuck invited Paul to eat lunch one day, but he kept the invitation very casual. – Rapport building and opening the door for a deeper friendship.

_____________

Situation: Chuck greets a coworker he sees at the coffee shop near his office (Chuck and Sally are not really close friends, however they often see each at the café near their office.)
Chuck: (Smiling) Sally, be honest, do you do any work? I only ever see you at the café.
Sally: (Ha ha) It seems like I don’t, but I’m actually very busy.
Chuck: Doing what? Getting coffee? (Smiling)
Sally: (Ha ha) Exactly! Just don’t let my boss know.
Chuck: Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me.
Sally: Anyway, I’m going to sit in the corner and read my book. Have a great day.
Chuck: You too. Enjoy the book.

Analysis: Examine the points below to help you understand the above conversation.
1. Chuck smiles and makes a joke with Sally. – Rapport building
2. Sally responds by laughing and pretending leaving the office to get coffee is a secret. – Rapport building.
3. Sally closes the conversation politely and gives a hint that she doesn’t want to be disturbed (“Have a great day.” = Our conversation is over).

Key Point: Making jokes can help build relationships between people. If someone tries to make a joke with you, even if it is not funny, just laugh! Laughing eases the tension between people.
_____________

Communication Tip: Excuse Yourself from a Conversation
anyway (adverb): used to end a conversation, to change the subject, or to resume a subject after interruption.

* Anyway, I’ll let you watch the movie in peace.
* Anyway, I must be going. See ya later!
* Anyway, I can see you are busy so I‘ll let you work.

Bonus Vocabulary
(do something) in peace (exp.): informing someone you will leave them alone to do what they were doing prior to your interruption
I must be going (exp.): used as a polite way to say you will leave now
Let (someone) get back to (something) (exp.): informing someone you will leave them alone
reasonable (adj.): fair; what would be expected

Note: If you want to know more ways to talk about food then check out the forum on describing food and drink.

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