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As we all know, English learners should improve the following abilities: listening, speaking, reading and writing. More and more students and adults are coming to realize the huge importance of learning English grammar in order to improve their English skills and be more successful in their careers.
What is Small Talk?
Small talk is a short conversation about light topics. It often “breaks the ice” when we meet someone for the first time because it helps to put everyone at ease.
Why is it useful for me?
Learning the art of small talk is important for anyone who wants to practice their English speaking. Knowing some of the rules when creating conversation is important in order to be an effective conversationalist. The ability to create and respond to small talk is one of the unsaid rules when learning to speak in English.
Practicing small talk serves many purposes. Here are some important points to consider:
- 1. It improves the relationship between people by building rapport. When you find similarities between each other you can relate to each other in a better way. This improves relationships between others.
- 2. It prevents dead air. Dead air (or long periods of silence) often makes many people uncomfortable. When you have some topics to discuss that you know are going to be acceptable to others, then you can use these topics to eliminate or avoid any dead air.
- 3. It helps to build trust. This is even more important when you are meeting someone for the first time. You can project yourself as a friendly and outgoing person when you are able to start a small talk conversation.
- 4. It helps to determine the mood of the situation and others. Knowing this helps in knowing how to proceed further based on the situation.
Now that you understand the importance of small talk, the next step involves getting a partner to practice conversations in English. You need to find a tutor or mentor who will give you feedback. This works best online because you cannot see each other and read their body language. Your focus is more about the spoken message that you convey. The best way to learn and improve small talk conversations in English is to practice, and you can find a vast variety of tutors online to help you!
Rules of Small Talk
Everything has rules and limitations, and small talk is no exception. When we know the rules, we feel confident when we are conversing with others. Oftentimes, we hesitate because we are unsure about the receiver’s mood, feelings, and understanding.
It’s most important to be able to understand what topics to talk about, and which topics are best to avoid.The best rule is to choose a topic that your partner knows something about so that the conversation does not fall flat!
Topics to Use:
Do talk about the weather.
Everyone can make a comment about the weather. In fact, most people enjoy talking about the weather because it changes daily and is often unpredictable.
This is a great topic because a many people are aware of them and are able to make a few comments.
Everyone who drives to work often enjoys talking about the driving conditions.
Topics to Avoid:
Don’t discuss politics or religion.These are really personal topics that people feel very strongly about in most cases. This defeats the topic of creating light conversation.
Avoid making negative personal comments. This is especially important if you are pointing out anything that makes someone different from someone else. Unless it is a compliment, it is best avoiding.
Here’s a sample of a small talk discussion between two people:
Person A: Hello! How are you?
Person B: Hi! I’m fine thanks, and you?
Person A: I’m doing great. This weather is amazing, isn’t it?
Person B: Yes it is! I hope it lasts for some time so we can keep enjoying it.
Need more help with starting a small talk conversation? Practice your spoken English online with a tutor or mentor who can guide you.