SMALL TALK: What to say and what NOT to say!
What is “small talk”? Small talk is a type of conversation we make when we are talking to people we don’t know well. It’s one of the most important speaking skills to develop when you learn English. In this lesson, I will teach you what you should and shouldn’t talk about with people you don’t know well in North America. The topics that are appropriate for small talk are different in different cultures, so these might be different from what you’re used to, depending on where you are from. We will also talk about how to politely leave a conversation. Small talk can help you connect with new people, make friends, network, and it can also help you feel more comfortable in a conversation. Test your small talk skills with the quiz: https://www.engvid.com/small-talk/
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Hello. My name is Emma, and in todays video we are going to talk about something very, very important in English, and that is small talk. Okay? So, Im first going to talk about: What is small talk? And then Im going to talk about the good things to do in order to make good small talk, and the donts - the things we dont do when were making small talk.
Okay, so first of all, what is "small talk"? Very good question. So, Ive written some question words up here: "What?", "Who?", "Where/When?", "Why?", and "How?" So, what is "small talk"? "Small talk" is a type of conversation. Its conversation we make with people we dont know that well. Okay? So, its conversation we make when we dont really know people that well. We use small talk not with our family, not with our friends; we use small talk with strangers - with people we dont know.
We use it with acquaintances. And for those of you who dont know, "acquaintance" is somebody you know, but not really well. So, for example, your neighbour might be an acquaintance. Your friends friend might be an acquaintance. So, with strangers, with acquaintances, people you know their name but you dont really know them well. With your co-workers, with your boss, with your neighbours, with the clerk at the store maybe - if you like to go to a cafe, you might use it with the person who works at the cafe. So, small talk is for people you dont know that well.
So, where and when? Weve already talked of a couple of examples. Have you ever been on an elevator, and everybodys look at their phone; nobodys making eye contact? A lot of people will make small talk on elevators. At parties. We use small talk at parties. We use them when were in line ups; sometimes we talk to people near us. We use them at conferences when were in business or academics. We use them in our classes. When you have a classmate, you dont know them that well, you would probably use small talk. And there are many, many other situations you use small talk.
So, why do we use small talk? Well, number one, we want to be friendly. Okay? When we meet somebody, we dont want to seem rude, we dont want to seem unfriendly; we want to seem friendly, so we use small talk. We use small talk to meet new people. A lot of students, when they come to other countries, they want to meet new people. A good way to do that is by using small talk.
We want to not feel uncomfortable. Okay? We want to feel comfortable; not uncomfortable. If, for example, youre in an elevator and nobodys talking, it makes everybody feel a little bit uncomfortable. Small talk could make that situation feel more comfortable. We also use small talk to make other people feel comfortable. Okay? Were trying to make a connection with other people and make them feel comfortable, too. All right?
So, key point: Small talk we use for people we dont know that well; we use it for strangers, acquaintances, neighbours. Do we use it for family and friends? Not really. We use it for many different types of situations, and we use it for multiple reasons. So now Im going to teach you some great ways to make small talk.
Okay, so remember small talk is for everybody. So, we want to keep the conversation easy, and things everybody can talk about. Okay? So, what are some things that would make great small talk? Well, first of all, I want you to imagine youre at a party and you dont know anyone, and you want to talk to somebody. Here are some great things you could say. So, to start, you can talk about the place youre in or the venue. Okay?
So, for example, if music is playing, you can just say to someone: "Oh, I love this song", and that can start a conversation. Or maybe you can say: "What a great apartment this is" or "Isnt that such a beautiful painting? You know, its such a nice painting." […]
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