Making small talk—Culips English Podcast

There are so many different kinds of conversation to have! Small talk is the simple kind of conversation that people often have with others that they don’t know very well. In this episode, we give examples of what you can talk about to break the ice, and how people strike up a conversation in different places. And did you know that Harp is secretly shy?

Expressions included in the learning materialssmalltalk

  • Small talk
  • Icebreakers
  • Outgoing
  • Brand new
  • Eye contact
  • Mingling
  • To be closed off
  • Public transportation
  • To run into someone
  • The water cooler
  • Segue
  • To be swamped
  • Nerve-wracking
  • To stick with/to
  • A question machine
  • The Montreal Canadians

Sample transcript

Maura: And today, we are chatting about chatting. We’re talking about small talk.

Harp: Yes. Today we’re going to talk about small talk.

Maura: And that’s the kind of conversation that you have with people that’s not complicated or difficult; really easy conversation that you have with people you don’t know very well.

Harp: And today we’ll break down this topic into meeting new people …

Maura: And then we’re going to give you some situations where you might meet these new people or you might have small talk.

Harp: Exactly. And we’ll finish by talking about icebreakers: ways to start small talk.

Maura: Yeah. Different ways you can start conversations. OK, so first, we’ll talk about meeting new people and the small talk that happens. Now, Harp, do you like meeting new people?

Harp: I do like meeting new people, but, you know, I’m kinda shy.

Maura: Are you?

Harp: Yeah, I know. People are surprised, because I’m quite outgoing, but I’m shy when I meet new people.

Maura: You know, Harp, I never would have guessed that, because when we met, it was in our French class, and you were in front of me, we made eye contact, and right away, you said, “Hey, how’s it going?” So laid back.

Harp: That’s funny, ’cause I’m sure I was very nervous when I said it.

 

Maura: First of all, we should say that small talk conversations can happen pretty much anywhere…anywhere that you meet a new person or you run into someone that you know a little bit.
Harp: Or when you’re in a place that’s small with someone you don’t know, but it’s just one person, or two people, like in a small elevator.
Maura: Right. So an elevator is one situation where it happens maybe more often than other places. So in an elevator, I find people talk about the weather.
Harp: Definitely. That’s what I talk about.
Maura: Usually when I’m in an elevator, I avoid eye contact because I don’t think we need to talk in an elevator, but if people talk to me, then it’s usually something like, “hey, it’s really hot out there.”

Expressions included from this episode in Lipservice:

Small talk Icebreakers
Outgoing Brand new
Eye contact Mingling
To be closed off Public transportation
To run into someone The water cooler
Segue To be swamped
Nerve-wracking To stick with/to
A question machine The Montreal Canadians

Podcast/ Lipservice: Culips ESL Podcast, Photo: Michael Berenz

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Posted in Chatterbox.