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Small Talk

Many people believe small talk is very boring and not personable.  Although that is true, there are many places where small talk is very important.  In the western culture, strangers talk to other strangers frequently.  On the other hand, small talk is not so common in the eastern culture.  Because strangers are friendly to one another in the western culture, small talk is very important to master in regards to learning English.  One other place small talk is important is in an interview.  That is why this session will be important to learn.

The best way to learn small talk is to provide many examples.  So this lesson will be taught using an example format.

Small talk involves many different topics.  We will have several sessions on small talk once we have covered other subjects such as sports, jobs, school, etc.  But for now, we will go through the basics of small talk conversation.  To initiate small talk, we can use what we have learned from our previous several sessions:

One:  "Hi Bill, how are you doing?"
Two:  "I'm doing great.  How are you doing?"
One:  "I'm doing well myself."

Wasn't that simple?  If you studied the material in prior sessions, this should be real easy for you.  Now that we have initiated the small talk, it's your responsibility to keep the conversation going.  In order to do so, you can talk about anything that is not too personal.  Let's first ask what the other person has been doing lately.

One:  "What have you been up to lately?"
Two:  "Well, I just started to work at the bank so I'm pretty busy learning everything."

You can elaborate on what you have learned to keep the conversation alive.  In this example, you are going to ask more questions about school and work.

One:  "Does that mean you already finished school?  I thought you had 1 more semester left."
Two:  "I took summer courses, so I finished one semester early."
One:  "It's great that you got a job.  I'm really happy for you."
Two:  "Thanks."

As you can now tell, the conversation is getting old.  You have a choice of ending the conversation, or changing the topic.  Let's practice ending the conversation.

One:  "We should get together for lunch sometime."
Two:  "Yeah, that would be great."
One:  "I'll call you sometime."
Two:  "Ok.  I'll see you later."
One:  "Alright.  See ya."

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