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In this rewarding small talk activity, students make small talk and try to find things they have in common with their classmates. This activity can also be used as an icebreaker to help students become better acquainted with one another. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. Students complete the worksheet with information about themselves by writing one answer in each box. Next, students go through the 'Wh' questions they need to ask to find out if they have something in common with a classmate.
Students then walk around the class speaking to one another about the various topics on the worksheet and asking the related 'Wh' questions. When two students find something that they have in common with each other, they write one another's name down in the space provided.
The students then move on to speak to someone else. When everyone has finished, students share what they have in common with one another. Both of us. In this fun small talk activity, students find out what they have in common with their classmates. Students write down the names of all the students in the class on the worksheet.
The students then use small talk to find out one thing they have in common with each student in the class. Students walk around the class speaking to one another about various small talk topics, such as hobbies, food, sports, etc. When two students discover something that they have in common, they write it down on the line next to their partner's name. Students must try to find a different thing they have in common with each classmate. Never can say goodbye! In this engaging small talk activity, students practice phrases for ending a conversation and saying goodbye by putting sentences from three conversations in the correct order.
Divide the students into pairs A and B and give each student a corresponding worksheet. Each student has half of three conversations, but the sentences are in the wrong order. The students' task is to put the conversations in the correct order by reading the sentences to their partner and numbering them from 1 to 8.
Student A starts each conversation by looking at their sentences and reading the most suitable one for the ending of the conversation. The student then puts number 1 next to the sentence. Student B listens and looks for a suitable reply and then reads that reply to Student A, putting number 2 next to the sentence. This process continues until the conversation has been put in order from 1 to 8.
When the students have finished, they move on to the second conversation. This continues until all three conversations have been completed. Afterwards, each pair reads the three conversations to you. If the students have made any mistakes, they repeat the activity until all three conversations are ordered correctly.
Afterwards, review the conversations and language for ending a conversation and saying goodbye with the class. Small Talk Questions. In this small talk questions activity, students learn and practice how to keep a small talk conversation going by asking questions.
Students begin by reading through information on small talk and looking at example small talk topics and questions.Whether you were expecting to be with this person or not, you're now stuck in the moment trying to come up with small talk topics but struggling to know exactly what to say.
The prospect of having these short conversations can lead to anxiety as you try to straddle saying enough while not saying the wrong thing. Let's review some small talk topics you can bring up in these uncomfortable situations that will seem neither forced nor awkward. Quick note: Meeting new people and improving the quality of your relationships is a skill that can be developed. To learn more, check out this course that can help you massively boost your confidence at work and home.
Small talk is the polite and sometimes shallow conversations you have during social interactions. When you engage in small talk, you generally address unimportant and non-controversial subjects, and the conversation doesn't often veer into more profound or deep topics.
These kinds of conversations happen between people who aren't particularly close to each other — such as two guests at a dinner party or a coworker on the elevator.
With small talk topics, people are aiming to find points of genuine agreement with someone they don't know well enough to delve into more substantive conversation. While this idle chit chat doesn't convey important ideas or engage your analytical mind, that doesn't mean it's not important. It serves a social function of bonding over information. Research shows that small talk skills are necessary for building connections with other people. If done correctly, making small talk with someone can lay the foundation for a potential relationship with this person.
It helps demonstrate your communication stylewhich can be an effective way to develop and extend your personal and professional networks. Engaging in small talk can also make you likable.
People like those who are confident enough to engage with others. It is important to remember that small talk isn't just a method of communication and a way of filling an awkward gap.
It's also a gesture of respect that most people appreciate. Yes, talking about the weather seems dull, but it is a good neutral topic that everyone can relate to. Even if the weather isn't particularly noteworthy at the moment, it can still be acknowledged.
Some things you can say are:. Some people can talk more about sports than others, so there are some rules of thumb to consider before discussing sports. You want to know your audience, so this topic may be best for people with whom you have crossed paths in the past. Having an enthusiastic conversation about your favorite team can be fun, but don't let it get heated if you and your conversation partner disagree about some aspect of your sports discussion.
Some entertainment subjects that are effective conversation starters and good small talk topics are:. To get ready to discuss these topics, keep up with what is trending and popular in these topic categories.
Refresh your memory about the latest book you've read and the most recent restaurant you've tried. Ask the other person if he or she has seen any good movies or Netflix series lately or heard any new music that's worth sharing. Talk about your book if you think it will interest the other person, or ask if they have read it.
This is a quick way to find some common ground. Ask people which restaurants in the area they like to frequent and the best dishes that are offered.Small talk topics are the best source of conversation between people who don't know each other well.
Learning to make small talk can help to build your confidence so that you can start conversationsmake connections, and develop your social skills. One good way to alleviate anxiety is to prepare for the types of topics that are likely to come up.
At the same time, it's important to overcome your urge to avoid it altogether. Rather than being scared of small talk, make a point of overcoming your fear of it.
Although talking about the weather may seem mundane, it is a good neutral topic that everyone can discuss. Are you in the middle of a heatwave? Look no further than outside your door for some good conversation openers.
Practice making small talk about the weather by asking someone one of these questions the next time you find yourself in the middle of an awkward silence. To prepare for these topics, brush up on what is popular and always be in the middle of reading a good book.
Try asking someone, "Have you seen any good movies lately? Be okay with rejection, or actually seek it out. It's all just practice, after all. Keep track of what sports are played during which seasons, such as football, soccer, hockey, and golf, so that you are on top of the current action. If you don't like sports, talk about why you don't like them. Ask someone, "Did you catch that golf tournament on the weekend?
A great way to prepare for small talk is to read the news every day. Be aware of what is going on in the world and in your city. While paper newspapers are going out of style, digital news either directly from news sources or fed through social media have become popular ways of keeping current.
Remember that small talk is about building a bridge between you and another person. It doesn't matter so much what you talk about, but rather that you start talking.
27 Of The Best Small Talk Topics And Questions
People are likely to ask you about your family. Conversation openers about family may include the following:. Be prepared for these types of questions and reciprocate by asking others about their families. Engaging in this type of small talk displays your communication skills, and helps you to learn a lot about a person in a short period of time.
Another popular small talk topic is work. If you do something unusual that is hard to explain, consider keeping business cards in your wallet. This works particularly well if your company or job has a website that people can visit. Always focus on what you'd like to learn about others and things you enjoy talking about.
This will make the process of small talk feel more like fun than work. People like to hear about vacations. If you travel, be ready to answer questions and give your opinions about the places you have visited.To avoid these awkward silences, you need to know how to make small talk in English.
You can make small talk at a party, before a work meeting or while waiting for your food to microwave in the office. Your body says almost as much as your mouth when you speak English—and so do the bodies of other people. If, on the other hand, the person in front of you turns around, catches your eye and smiles, you can try starting a small conversation. You can make yourself more approachable by doing small things that will make a big difference.
Instead, make eye contact and smile! Some topics are universalmeaning you can use them anywhere and with anyone. Others are better suited for specific situations. For example, work-related topics might be better used with coworkers at the office, and hobby-related topics might be better with friends. Let the conversation happen naturally instead of trying to ask questions like a list. The best small talk is the situational kind, something you observe about your environment and work into a conversation.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like news, music videos, skits, interviews and more—and turns them into personalized language lessons. You can even use your English learning as a conversation starter. My name is [Your Name].
It was cold yesterday and today I came in with an open jacket. Make sure not to ask questions that are too personal, and instead offer some nice words of encouragement. I hope it gets better for you.
I went camping on Saturday, and of course it rained all day. Was your weekend any better? Do you have any interesting plans for the evening? Some conversations are only appropriate in a work environment. Stay even less personal at work than in more casual places, and avoid gossiping talking about other people who are not present! I hear Pam brought her famous carrot cake! Are you busy too? Look around and find something to comment on, or look at your partner and find something nice to compliment them on.
Nothing makes people feel better than a genuine compliment! They finally fixed the light in the break room. Thank you for making them for the party. When you have something similar with your speaking partner, that means you have something to talk about. Try asking questions instead, based on observations.Last updated on February 17, Whether small talk is something you enjoy or not, it is undeniably an integral component of any social interaction.
Nevertheless, both small talk and initiating conversations can be a source of anxiety for many people. Many people make it a habit to deny that small talk is an important part of social interaction, claiming instead that it is superficial and a waste of time. People are rebelling against it today in a misguided dismissal of social graces that seem old-fashioned, boring, or wasteful.
Mastering it makes you a pleasure to be around. She goes on to explain that, without small talk, conversation would be forced to dive directly into the deeper topics that are simply inappropriate to discuss with strangers and are too heavy to discuss in many social situations. In short: Yes, small talk really is that important. Keep reading to learn how to become great at it. Because they probably have. Randomness does not promote bonding. If your small talk is random, you are not working towards bonding with the other person and therefore you are wasting your time.
In other words, people who are genuinely interested in getting to know others are unsurprisingly much more likely to develop mutual feelings of closeness with new people through small talk. And after all, getting to know people and bonding with them is the entire point of socializing.
101 ESL Conversation Topics to Break the Silence 
Consider these two scenarios:. Do you like Bon Jovi? As you can see in the small talk scenario above, a person may be hesitant to state their opinion one way or the other without first knowing what the other person thinks. But if you state your opinion first, even if they disagree they are likely to be more comfortable sharing their true opinion with you because you have already been honest about your own opinion with them.
The stating and asking of opinions in this way not only helps you get to know the other person and the other person get to know youbut it also promotes rapport-building and bonding. According to Minda Zetlin in this article for Inc.
Zetlin recommends making positive observations instead. Stating opinions and observations about the situation and surroundings, followed by asking for a reciprocating opinion, is a natural way to make meaningful small talk. Another of the many benefits of small talk is that it allows you to get a feel for the other person.
Do you have a lot in common? Do you share a similar sense of humor? Do they seem open to continuing the conversation?Looking for that missing element that will help your ESL conversation classes sparkle, shine and speak English?SMALL TALK: What to say and what NOT to say!
But these tricks can help you go from zero to ESL hero. As a matter of fact, the one big secret is having.
Small Talk Lesson Plan
In the classroom and in everyday life, we need conversation starters or ice breakers to end the silence. Before you start the school year, dedicate some time in preparing a list of free talking topics see below. First, print the conversation topics below. Second, cut each topic and put them in a hat. You can either open the whole classroom for discussion or have them speak in pairs.
Furthermore, these ESL conversation topics are great for filling in any extra time at the end of the class or ice breakers at the start of a lesson. All are free and can be used for any purpose.
All things considered, ESL conversation topics from a hat is a fantastic end of the class time filler. When you run out of things to do, pull out the hat and pick a topic. Otherwise, your class would just be sitting there twiddling their thumbs.
I found these tips very useful and interesting. I will be using some of your suggestions. I was talking with a 12 year old in KSA whose younger 8 year old brother had gone to a farm earlier in the day. It turns out he goes to this farm every day. I find most of these questions helpful and interesting, so I thank you for that, but there are questions that I think are inappropriate to ask your students, particularly the questions about love, dating, and crying.
I also found multiple grammar errors in this article. For example:. Depending on your class, age and level of maturity, I agree the questions about love and dating could be inappropriate. But of course, every situation is different. Worksheets Teach English Learn English.This is especially true for business English learners but applies to all.
The function of small talk is the same the world over. However, which topics are appropriate for small talk can vary from culture to culture.
This lesson plan focuses on helping students develop their small talk skills and addresses the issue of appropriate subjects. Difficulties in small talk skills can arise from a number of factors including grammar uncertainties, comprehension problems, lack of topic-specific vocabulary, and a general lack of confidence. The lesson introduces a discussion of appropriate small talk topics.
Make sure to give students ample time to delve into the subjects if they seem particularly interested. Activity: Discussion of appropriate small talk subjects followed by a game to be played in small groups.
Match the conversational purpose to the expression in the second column. Identify the appropriate grammar structure in the third column. Which topics are appropriate for small talk discussions? For topics which are not appropriate, explain why you believe they are not appropriate for small talk.
Throw one die to move forward from one subject to the next. When you get to the end, return to the beginning to start again. You have 30 seconds to make a comment about the suggested subject.
Conversation exercise on small talk informal or formal
If you don't, you lose your turn! Share Flipboard Email. Kenneth Beare. Updated January 27, Aim: Improving small talk skills. Level: Intermediate to Advanced. Write "Small Talk" on the board. Brainstorm as a class to define small talk. Write examples on the board. Discuss the importance of small talk skills with the class. Divide students into groups of 3 - 5. Give students the small talk worksheet. Review as a class. Discuss any questions in usage.