S1E1: What is Small Talk? (Part 1) Transcript

S1E1: What is Small Talk? (Part 1) Transcript

Hi, I’m Kate and I’m a Senior English Teacher and Head of Creative here at Intrepid English. Welcome to this Business English Skill Set Audio Course which is all about Small Talk. In this first episode, we’ll define small talk. What is it, when do we use it, and why is it important?

Before we begin, let’s go over some vocabulary. 

Acquaintance (noun) – someone who you know, but not on a very deep or personal level

Gossip (noun/verb) – Talking about other people, normally in a negative way and often speculating about their personal lives

Tact (noun) – sensitivity, skill in navigating difficult or sensitive topics

Inconsequential (adjective) – irrelevant, something that doesn’t matter

Tactful (adjective) – to be able to navigate difficult or awkward topics with tact, sensitivity

Bump into (phrasal verb) – to encounter someone by chance

(To be) on/off the table (phrase) – to be discussed (on) or not discussed (off)

Best bet (phrase, informal) – The option which is the best or most likely to be successful

Small talk is something we have all engaged in at some point. Did you know that a whopping three out of four jobs are found through professional networking? Small talk is a big deal. Because of this, small talk is an essential business English skill. It is invaluable for creating (and maintaining) professional working relationships based on trust.

Small talk can often have negative connotations. How many times have you seen it with the words ‘awkward’, ‘painful’, ‘trivial’ or even ‘excruciating’?

In this course you will learn how to take the negative sting out of your small talk conversations and start engaging in small talk that’s enjoyable, relaxing, and moves you on to bigger and better things!

We’ll study the following lessons: What is Small Talk?, Business Introductions, Embedded Questions for Politeness, Tag Questions, Giving and Asking for Opinions, and Diplomatic Language.

The topics will be packed with useful vocabulary and top tips and tricks for making your small talk smoother, easier and more enjoyable.

Well, small talk refers to the polite conversation we make with people. It allows us to build upon existing relationships, and avoid uncomfortable silences.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines small talk as “light or casual conversation.”

We engage in small talk with people we don’t know very well, people that we are meeting for the first time, people that we work with and bump into, and people that we see from time to time.

Small talk is an essential Business English skill for building professional and comfortable business relationships based on mutual respect. It is also a useful tool for networking. Good small talk will help your colleagues and clients feel at ease when working with you, which in turn will make them more open to suggestions or proposals you may have for projects.

Remember that: small talk happens in everyday life. Not only is it an important business skill, but an important life skill.

Well, that’s all for now. In the second episode we will continue looking at what small talk actually is, where it occurs and what you should or shouldn’t talk about. 

Don’t forget to check out the Business English forums in the Intrepid English Community, where you can discuss and network with other language learners and businesspeople from around the world. There is also a Business English group for group classes.

You can also book a lesson at any time with one of the experienced and friendly Intrepid English teachers. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your language-learning goals with you and help you on your pathway to success.

You can find more episodes on Apple Podcast Subscriptions or our website! 

Thank you for listening to this original audio course from Intrepid English. To access your free downloadable worksheets and transcripts that accompany this course, click on the link in the episode notes.

This content was written and recorded by Intrepid English Teacher Kate B.

You can find out more about Kate B on her Intrepid English Teacher Profile Page.

Book a free trial lesson today to discuss this topic in more detail, and talk about your English learning goals with an experienced and friendly English teacher.

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