Why is small talk an important business English skill?

A group of four people are at work engaging in small talk

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’?

Despite these negative connotations, being able to make engaging and interesting small talk is an invaluable skill, which can frequently lead us on to bigger and better things. The Business English Small Talk course aims to take the negative sting out of small talk and teach lots of useful vocabulary, expressions, grammar and tips and tricks.

What can I expect from the course?

The Business English Small Talk course is one of four free taster courses available in the Intrepid English Academy. You can also check out the Level Assessment Test, Verb Tenses, and English for Travelling, for a sneak peek of what to expect when you join the Academy.

Like all of our Academy courses, the course is a self-study course, meaning that you can study at a time, place and pace that suits you. The Business English Small Talk course is made up of six lessons. There are regular quizzes throughout to check your understanding. You can also book a lesson with an Intrepid English Teacher at any time, or ask any questions you may have using the little green chat box in the right-hand corner of your screen.

What is Small Talk?

What do we mean by ‘small talk’? When do we use it? Why is it important in day-to-day life? And why is it an important business English skill? In the opening lesson, we will answer these questions.

Business Introductions

We have all been there. The dreaded, ‘Tell us a little bit about yourself’ in a meeting or at a networking event. It can be very difficult to talk about ourselves! In this lesson we’ll look at useful expressions for talking about ourselves, introducing ourselves, and opening and closing conversations.

Embedded Questions for Politeness

Embedded questions are commonly used in spoken English. They’re also useful for writing emails. Embedded questions help us to come across as more polite than just asking a direct question. Lesson number three explores how to form embedded questions by framing what we want to ask with a polite expression such as ‘I was wondering…?’ or ‘Could you tell me…?’

Tag Questions

You want your small talk to sound natural, don’t you? Tag questions can help with that! Lesson number four is another grammar-based lesson. We review short answers and auxiliaries before moving on to tag questions, how to form them, and when to use them in your English conversations.

Giving and Asking for Opinions

Being able to express your opinion is an important skill in a business setting, but equally in everyday life! In lesson number five we’ll take a look at some useful expressions and vocabulary for giving your opinion, asking other people for their opinions, and agreeing or disagreeing.

Diplomatic Language

The final lesson of the course looks at language to use in different business situations, such as at conferences and trade fairs, talking about mutual friends or acquaintances, how to say that you don’t understand, and how to accept or decline an invitation.

At the end of each lesson, there are useful extra activities to help you to practise and apply what you have learnt to a real life scenario. You can practise by yourself, or book a lesson with an Intrepid English Teacher at any time to practise with them, and discuss any questions you may have.


You can also check out more essential business English courses in the Intrepid English Academy – such as Writing Emails, Presentations, and Negotiations. We’ve got your business English needs covered!

There are more courses coming to the Intrepid English Academy very soon. To find out what’s coming up at Intrepid English in 2021 download our free Intrepid English Study Planner right here.

Book a free trial lesson today and talk about your learning goals with an experienced English teacher. Say goodbye to boring English lessons! If you’re not sure what you want to learn, let your teacher choose from the range of English courses that have been designed to help our students to achieve their goals.

This blog was written by Intrepid English Teacher Kate.

Find out more about Kate on her Intrepid English Teacher profile page. 

If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can contact us using the chat box, or email us at Intrepid English.

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