BEP 400 – Socializing with Colleagues 1: Meeting New People

BEP 400 LESSON - English for Socializing with Colleagues 1: Meeting New People

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for socializing with your colleagues. In this lesson we’re going to learn how to socialize with colleagues you’re meeting in-person for the first time.

What do you talk about when you meet someone new or see your colleagues socially? Some outgoing people apparently never have to think about it. They’re just natural socializers and feel comfortable with small talk. For most of us though, making small talk with new people or co-workers feels uncomfortable at best, or painful at worst. But it doesn’t have to be.

We call it “small talk” because it’s light, simple, and informal conversation. It’s not serious, deep, or overly formal. Small talk is often about personal matters, but not too personal if it’s at work. We often talk about places or things that are safe and avoid controversial topics. And there’s a flow to small talk that can be tricky to master. Your comments can’t be too short, or you’ll seem rude. But if they’re too long, people will lose interest.

So what can you talk about if you’re meeting colleagues for the first time at say a conference or a company retreat? Well, some key topics include your name and job, of course, but also places and travel. And key strategies include building on other people’s comments, making guesses or inferences, and using unfinished sentences to invite other people to speak. With a handle on these approaches, you can comfortably chat socially with your colleagues.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a conversation at a company retreat. People from a large company are gathering for meetings and team-building. We’ll hear Michelle, Jen, and Ryan meet each other for the first time. In their conversation, you’ll hear the topics and strategies that I just mentioned.

Listening Questions

1. What information does Jen give in her short personal introduction?
2. What comment or fact given by Michelle does Jen build on with a further comment?
3. What does Jen ask Ryan about once he has introduced himself?

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