S1E2: What is Small Talk? (Part 2) Transcript

S1E2: What is Small Talk? (Part 2) Transcript

Hello, I’m Kate, an Intrepid English Teacher. Welcome to episode 2 of the small talk audio course. Today, we will discuss where small talk occurs and what you should and should not say. 

Let’s start with when small talk occurs. Well, the answer is simple: everywhere!

In a business setting – In the lift, between business meetings, on the phone, when you bump into someone in the hallway or canteen. Small talk is an essential skill for building relationships and successful businesses.

In daily life – When you bump into a neighbour or an acquaintance, at the bus stop, waiting in line to buy coffee, at the hairdressers, completing any sort of transaction (at the bank, the supermarket, a clothing store.)

Now, what should you talk about?

Here are some common small talk topics: 

  • The weather
  • Mutual acquaintances (although be sure not to engage in gossip – more on this later)
  • The location or venue
  • Nearby locations – restaurant recommendations, days out, places of interest
  • Sporting events (upcoming or recent)
  • Entertainment – perhaps you read a good book, found a useful blog, or listened to an interesting podcast recently that you’d recommend
  • Hobbies – if you enjoy doing something, you tend to enjoy talking about it
  • Travel – have you been somewhere interesting recently?

Now, knowing what topics to avoid is just as important. So here are some examples of topics you do not want to use during small talk: 

  • Gossip. Gossip is a definite no. Gossiping is extremely unprofessional and a fast-track route to losing the respect of colleagues and clients.
  • Politics. As a general rule, political topics are off the table.
  • Religion
  • Money
  • Offensive jokes

If you’re unsure whether a topic is a good call or not, your best bet is to err on the side of caution and avoid it. Practise sensitivity and tact.

Join us in episode three where we’ll look at some examples of good and bad small talk.

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.

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