Chatterbox #46 – Making small talk

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.