• Successful small talk is not about saying brilliant things. It’s about commenting on and asking about ordinary
things with conviction, interest, and enthusiasm.
• Match the mood of your conversation partner. If they are smiling and cheerful, be ready to laugh. If they
seem serious, be serious too.
• Ask where your partner comes from and, when somebody asks you the same thing, be ready to add
something interesting about the place.
• Ask what your partner does and, when you’re asked the same question, don’t only give a title. Add a small
piece of interesting or amusing information about the job or responsibility.
Starting a conversation
A: That was really interesting what the last speaker said about opening bank accounts in the
B: Yes, it was. So, what do you do exactly?
A: I’m an auditor, a forensic auditor.
B: Ah, urn, you’re a forensic, urn, auditor?
A: Yes, that’s right.
B: Right, oh. I see. Look at the time! I must get to the next presentation…
C: Mmm, lovely coffee! I needed that. I just flew in from London very early this morning.
How did you get here?
D: I came on the TGV train from Paris.
C: Really? I’ve never been on the TGV. How long did that take?
D: Oh, about four hours. But I was able to have breakfast and do some reading.
C: That sounds nice. I must try it sometime. Marseilles’s really beautiful, isn’t it?
D: Yes, it is. Have you been here before? If you haven’t, you must…
E: I’m certainly looking forward to the dinner this evening.
F: I am too. Especially the fish. We don’t have much fish where I live.
E: Really? Where do you come from then?
F: Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s in the mountains just near Munich. What about you?
E: I’m from Cork in Ireland. The high street is supposed to have more pubs than any other town in Ireland.
F: Really? I’m going there on a business trip soon to visit the Apple factory. I must see if I can find time to visit some…
G: …and then I went jogging early this morning along by the sea. Fantastic sunrise coming up over the sea.
H: Really? Sunrise, you say?
G: Yes, amazing! Do you like jogging? You should try it, you know. It makes you feel really great all day
long. Just set the alarm for 5.30, jump out of bed and after you’ve been running for about an hour or so, go back, have a shower and —
H: Sorry, but do you know where I can smoke? I think I want a cigarette before the next presentation. Ah, that way Thanks.
1 What do you do?
2 Where are you from?
3 How did you get here?
4 Have you been here before?
5 Paris is great, isn’t it?
Get speaking: Listen and Speak
You speak the part of the man.
|RECEPTIONIST||Good morning. Can I help you?|
|MAN||Good morning. My name is Wilson, David Wilson, EMC Electronics.|
|RECEPTIONIST||Yes, Mr Wilson?|
|MAN||I have an appointment with the production manager.|
|RECEPTIONIST||Mrs Smith? That’s her, over there. I think she’s coming over.|
|MAN||Oh yes, I see her. Thank you.
|WOMAN||Hello! Are you looking for me?|
|MAN||Yes. Mrs Smith? I’m David Wilson from EMC Electronics.|
|WOMAN||How do you do, Mr Wilson. Susan Smith.|
|MAN||How do you do.|
|WOMAN||Let’s go to my office, shall we? Did you bring the report with you?|
Complete the sentences with words from the box.
looking from long been do means get lovely come isn’t
1 Have y o u ……………………here before?
2 Mmm,…………………. coffee! I needed that.
3 How did y o u …………………. here?
4 H ow ……………………did that take?
5 I’m a forensic auditor, w h ich that I help banks make sure
none of their staff are doing anything illegal.
6 I’m certainly…………………. forward to dinner.
7 I’m Athens……. It’s a great place to live.
8 Marseilles’s really beautiful,…………………… it?
9 So, what do y o u ……………………exactly?
10 Where do y o u ……………………from then?