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Making Small Talk (Beginner – A1)

Making Small Talk - Transcript

Carol: Hi, Jim. How are you today?
Jim: Hi, Carol. I’m good, thank you. How about you?
Carol: I’m great, thanks! Did you have a nice weekend?
Jim: Yes, I went to a movie on Saturday and relaxed at home on Sunday. How about you?
Carol: I visited a museum on Saturday and went for a hike on Sunday. The scenery was beautiful.
Jim: That sounds wonderful. I love spending time outdoors.

What is small talk?

Man and woman making small talk in the park

We meet people every day. Sometimes we have time to stop for a conversation. Sometimes we are too busy. In these situations, people often make small talk. Small talk is greetings or very short conversations about common topics. 

If you are waiting for the bus, standing in an elevator, or passing someone while talking a walk, small talk helps build connections between people. As an English language learner, it is an important skill to master.

So, what exactly is small talk, and why do people do it?

Understanding Small Talk

Small talk is light conversation about everyday topics. It is not about communicating important information. Instead it is used to avoid silence and show that you are friendly. We can make small talk with people we know well, people we know a little, and people we don’t know at all.  The topics may not seem important, but the purpose is important: to create a comfortable and friendly feeling between people.

When and Why People Do It

Have you heard the expression “break the ice”? When people don’t know each other, it can be difficult to start a conversation. Asking a question, or making a comment about something, can make it easier to start talking. When people begin talking, they start to feel more comfortable. Small talk is a good way to begin a longer conversation with someone.

Small talk with people you don’t know often happens when you are sharing space. It could be on a bus or train, inside an elevator or while waiting in line at the supermarket. Small talk with a stranger helps break the ice and connects people.

Why Should You Learn to Make Small Talk?

Learning how to make small talk has several benefits. It relaxes both people, making interactions smoother and more enjoyable. Learning to make small talk can increase your confidence and create a good impressions in various situations, from job interviews to parties. It also leads to deeper conversations, which make deeper connections.

Let’s look at a few examples of small talk. Then we can explain the meaning and purpose of each:

Dialogue 1:

– A: Hi, how are you?
– B: I’m good, thanks. How about you?
– A: I’m doing well, too.

This common exchange serves as a friendly greeting. The purpose is to acknowledge each other’s presence, express well-being, and create a positive atmosphere.

Dialogue 2:

– A: Nice weather today, isn’t it?
– B: Yes, it’s beautiful outside.
– A: Makes the day so much better.

Here, the topic is about the weather – a common small talk subject. The purpose is to find something you both know about and create a friendly interaction.

Dialogue 3:

– A: Did you do anything fun over the weekend?
– B: Not much, just relaxed at home. How about you?
– A: I went to a movie with friends.

This dialogue is about weekend activities. the goal is to discover shared interests and to make a connection through this.

Dialogue 4:

– A: How’s work/school going?
– B: It’s busy but good. How about yours?
– A: Same here, lots to do.

Discussing work or school is a common small talk theme. The purpose is to share the experience of having responsibilities. It is best not to complain or speak about bad experiences.

Dialogue 5:

– A: Have any plans for the evening?
– B: Not really, just going to grab dinner. You?
– A: Thinking of watching a movie.

This dialogue is about evening plans. The purpose is to share casual information and maybe find shared activities or interests.

Man and woman making small talk on park bench

Common Topics in Small Talk

1. Weather: A basic topic that is easy to discuss.
2. Weekend Activities: Asking about and sharing weekend plans.
3. Work/School: Asking about someone’s day in a general way.
4. Hobbies: Talking about interests and pastimes.
5. Plans for the Day/Evening: Sharing your schedule with another person.

In Conclusion

Mastering the skill of making small talk is more than just using your English skills; it’s about building connections and making a friendly feeling between people. As you practice these simple conversations, remember that small talk is a way to make connections with other people. So, try it whenever you have the chance, smile, and the small talk will lead you to new friendships. Happy chatting!



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