BEP 401 – Socializing at Work 2: Deepening the Conversation

BEP 401 LESSON - Socializing with Colleagues 2: Deepening the conversation

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English for socializing with colleagues. Today we’re going to look at how to build deeper conversations with colleagues you’ve met for the first time.

When we meet a colleague for the first time, the conversation is usually pretty light. We introduce ourselves, make small talk about the weather, sports, or travel. And we try to build a bit of a connection with people. Listen to a conversation like this, and you’ll notice that people keep their comments pretty short and don’t spend too long talking about themselves.

Once you’ve established that initial connection, you have an opportunity to build rapport by deepening the conversation. While you might talk a bit more personally than the initial conversation, it’s still important to keep it light. And you need to continue with the back and forth dance of a skilled conversationalist.

In this deepening conversation, you might make comments about the place you’re in or the location. Another easy way to get someone talking is to ask them a number-based question, like how long they’ve lived in a certain place, for example. Skilled people also know how to turn the conversation back to the other person and find similarities to build rapport. And once you have some rapport, you’ll be able to contradict or disagree with people politely.

In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin a pair of colleagues – Jen and Ryan – who’ve just met at a company retreat. In our last lesson, we heard their very first conversation. Now they’re getting to know each other a bit better during a company social event at a bowling alley.

Listening Questions

1. What number-based question does Jen ask Ryan to get him talking?
2. What similarity in background or family situation does Ryan point out?
3. What point does Jen make that Ryan disagrees with near the end of the dialog?

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