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Business English Skill Set - Small Talk

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Lesson 6, Topic 2

Conferences and Trade Fairs

Kate September 23, 2020
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Conferences and trade fairs are prime examples of places where business networking and small talk take place. They are a great opportunity to strengthen existing business relationships, as well as form new ones and make connections.

Meeting old and new acquaintances

Below are a number of greetings. Label them with the category you feel they best fall into.

A) Greeting someone who you didn’t expect to be there.

B) Greeting someone who you haven’t met in person before.

C) Greeting someone who you expected to be there.

D) Greeting someone who you know but haven’t seen in a while.


  1. “What a lovely surprise!”
  2. “How have you been?”
  3. “I didn’t know you were interested in this area!”
  4. “I thought I might see you here.”
  5. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.”
  6. “Great to see you!”
  7. “I hoped I might bump into you here.”
  8. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
  9. “What have you been up to?”
  10. “It’s lovely to be able to put a face to a name.”
  11. “How long has it been?”

What did you decide? Let’s take a look at the answers:

A) 1,3

B) 5,8,10

C) 4,6,7

D) 2,9,11


Making a connection

Below are a number of useful phrases for small talk when making a connection. Match them with the category you think they best fit into.

A) Talking about work and mutual acquaintances

B) Introducing people

C) Connecting people

D) Talking about the venue


  1. “It’s a great place, isn’t it?”
  2. “Pass on my best regards to _____”
  3. “Have you met _____?”
  4. “You should get in touch with _____. Let me give you his number.”
  5. “Have you been here before?”
  6. “You really ought to talk to ______I can give you her email address/phone number.”
  7. “I’ve noticed there are a fair few people here from ____”
  8. “Allow me to introduce you to ____”

What did you decide? Let’s take a look at the answers.

A) 2,7

B) 3,8

C) 4,6

D) 1,5