This is a situation you’ve probably experienced countless times: you arrive for a meeting 10 minutes early. There are several people already there. You say hello and then what do you talk about? What do you say? In this situation, you need to be able to make small talk. Small talk is informal conversation. We use the term “small talk” because it is not about exchanging information or making decisions or having serious discussion. It’s a way to avoid uncomfortable silences and build stronger relationships.
Small talk might seem to be about nothing important, but small talk itself is important. Being able to make small talk will allow you to make yourself part of a group. It will set the stage for more serious types of communication. In this lesson, we’ll look at a few different ways to initiate and respond to small talk.
We’ll join three colleagues, Coby, Liz, and Shawn, who have arrived for a meeting and are waiting for a fourth person to join. As they wait, the colleagues engage in the type of casual conversation you’ll often hear in an English-speaking office.
1. Why is Gordon going to be late for the meeting?
2. What did Shawn do on the weekend?
3. What sport is Coby talking about?