Small Talk​

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Write down as many words as you can about socializing.

A2 : Socializing : Small talk

Useful Expressions

2- Match the related choices.

Can you come to my party this Saturday?


Please don’t take this the wrong way,


I know this is none of my business,


What do you think of the weather?


How about


How long since you stopped smoking?

Listening & Speaking

Listen as the teacher reads the model dialog.
(Scenario – Two employees from a large business firm are attending a company dinner in NYC.)

Ronaldo: I know this is none of my business, but when did you start working for the firm?
Maria: That’s all right. I started four years ago at the Texas office.
Ronaldo: What do you think of our new CEO?
Maria: He seems to be revising our budget with good sense. (pause) I just love this ice sculpture.
Ronaldo: It’s sublime. (pause) When was the last time you were in NYC?
Maria: Oh gosh, I think it was when I was in high school. How about you?
Ronaldo: I’ve been living here for quite a while, sixteen years. There’s nothing like NYC.
Maria: Please don’t take this the wrong way, but are you here alone?
Ronaldo: Yes, I am. (pause) My wife couldn’t make it due to another commitment.
Maria: Oh, I see. (pause) Uh, I’ve just noticed a coworker from Texas. I’m going to say hi to her. Merry Christmas.
Ronaldo: Merry Christmas, have a great night.

Guided Speaking

Complete the dialog, and practice it.
(Scenario – Two strangers are in a post office queue.)

Please don't take this the wrong way - I just love - quite a while - There's nothing like  - When was the last - I've just noticed

Ulrich: (1)           your hat. Are you a Red Sox fan?
Jerry: Yes I am! (2)                 a good baseball game on a Monday night.
Ulrich: I can’t say I’m a Red Sox fan, but (3)       the pitcher’s fast ball. I hear he broke a record.
Jerry: (4)     time you watched a game?
Ulrich: (5)                            , but I don’t like baseball.
Jerry: Then why did you ask me if I was a fan?
Ulrich: I’m just making small talk. We’ve been waiting in this line for  (6)           .


Pie Charts
Read the following chart, and learn how U.S. college students spend their time.

A2 : Socializing : Small talk
How do you spend your day? The chart represents how U.S. college students reported they spend their time on an average weekday. Full-time students spend 3.2 hours
in classes, 8.3 hours sleeping, and 3.9 hours on leisure and sports activities.

1. Look at the chart again, and complete these descriptions.

a. Students spend     twelve hours on sleeping and leisure/sports combined.
b. Students spend              time studying than doing leisure activities.
c. Students spend less time on education than sleeping and        .

Grammar Focus (spend + time + verb-ing)

Grammar Focus (spend + time + verb-ing)

• I spend 30 minutes putting on my makeup.
• I would literally spend about an hour a day commuting back and forth to campus.
• I spend approximately 3-4 hours studying and doing homework every day.

2- Show how you use your time on an average weekday. 

Use the following structure

I spend ...... doing .....


Hours / Day





eating and cleaning-up








telephone calls, e-mails, or computer-chatting






Reading and Discussions

Reading and Discussions

Read the following passage, and answer the questions.
Use the words provided below each question.

A2 : Socializing : Small TalkSmall Talk 
Americans often have short conversations, called small talk, with strangers they meet. Such chats occur at bus stops, on buses, in elevators, while waiting in line—almost anywhere that strangers gather close together. These short verbal exchanges are a way to say hello and express friendliness. They usually cover a broad range of topics. These may include weather, customer service, movies, TV shows, or consumer products.
Personal questions about money, family, religious beliefs and politics are off limits during these conversations. It’s best to ask open-ended questions. If you ask visitors whether they like your city, they may say simply, “Yes.” But if you ask “What do you think of our city?” they will have more freedom in answering. This type of question also shows that you are interested in their opinion. If you appear interested in what people are saying, they feel more comfortable talking with you.
Americans end many conversations with the phrase “Have a nice day” or “Have a good day.” Store clerks often say this to customers after purchases are made. It might sound insincere, but studies have shown that it makes many people feel better. People get a sense that others care about them, rather than ignoring them. The American greeting “How are you?” has a similar effect. The questioner may not really care about the answer, but simply asking the question often raises the other person’s spirits.

4 verbal: of words; spoken
7 off limits: not to be spoken of
8 open-ended: permitting spontaneous responses
16 insincere: not sincere; hypocritical

1. According to the reading passage, what topics are off-limits for small talk?

            personal affairs, money, family, religion, politics

Your answer may begin like:
They are personal questions such as ....

2. What topics could you use to start a conversation?

weather, appearances, lunch, weekend, ice breaker, book, exam

Your answer may begin like:
It depends, but the weather is probably the number one topic. Actually, ....

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