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Small Talk
Small Talk English, baby! Video Lesson

Learn English meaning of ‘Small Talk’

Date: Feb 09 2016

Themes: Friend, How To, Romance, Soap Opera

Grammar: Present Perfect Progressive


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A stranger stands next to you at a bus stop. You wait in line at the bank. Your teacher is late for class. What can you do with this time? You can make small talk. When you meet a new person, you can have a short, simple conversation. This is small talk. It’s a way to get to know someone. Some of the most popular small talk topics include the weather, sports, family, and work. These are all universal topics that anyone can talk about.

Some people think that small talk is difficult. They feel shy, or they don’t feel prepared to talk to strangers. Other people even think that small talk is cliche. They prefer to have more meaningful conversations, and they don’t want to talk about simple things like the weather. But small talk is a great way to meet new friends and learn new things. Sometimes, all you need is a smile to begin a conversation.

Jessica is going to go on a date with her secret admirer, but she is nervous. Watch today’s English lesson to hear Sara’s small talk ideas.

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1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Sara_R:  Marni said you have a secret admirer.

Jessica:  Someone has been leaving me gifts. I’m thinking about meeting him for coffee this Friday.

Sara_R:  You’re not sure?

Jessica:  I am so bad at small talk.

Sara_R:  It’s normal to feel shy on a first date.

Jessica:  Not just on first dates. I am always bad at small talk. I never know what to say to someone who I’ve just met.

Sara_R:  You can ask him about the weather.

Jessica:  But that’s so cliche. I want to talk about more meaningful things.

Sara_R:  I hear what you’re saying. Hey, I have an idea! Make a list before you go of things to ask him about.

Jessica:  Like what?

Sara_R:  Ask him about his family. Ask him which countries he’s visited, or if he hasn’t traveled, where he wants to go. Ask about his job.

Jessica:  But isn’t that kind of boring?

Sara_R:  Not at all. Family, travel, work… those are all universal topics that everyone can talk about. It’s how people get to know each other, whether you’re on a date, or taking a class together, or waiting for the bus…

Jessica:  OK. But will you help me? I want to feel prepared.

Sara_R:  Of course! Small Talk 101. Tomorrow afternoon?

Jessica:  Great. Thank you, Sara.

Sara_R:  I’m happy to do it.


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Jessica’s secret admirer has been giving her many presents. She tells Sara that she will probably go on a date with him. But she is very nervous about making small talk. She feels like she has nothing to say. Sara gives her some ideas. She suggests talking about the weather, but Jessica wants to have a deeper, meaningful conversation.

Sara gives Jessica more ideas, including making a list of topics that she could talk about. Jessica is afraid that these simple topics will be boring and cliche, but Sara says that they are universal and easy for all people to talk about. Jessica wants more help in order to be prepared, so Sara says that she will give her a class on Small Talk 101.

Do you like to make small talk with strangers? What is the most interesting thing you learned from small talk?



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I like a small talk with strangers.Small talk helps me to find new and real friends,
get acquainted with interesting people.As for me, small talk is not a problem, but opportunity.

11:23 AM Feb 28 2016 |

joao correia


Small talk  is in the most time the key for one open, maybe a new friendship or something else. I think that is important have a small talk with  a stranger just if you want to do it. No obligations.

02:59 AM Feb 28 2016 |



I felt really akward when sitting with the big boss whom we dont need to meet everyday. so i really dont know how to start the small talk. but the situation changed, when with the colleagues or the boss we met now and then, even i have never talked with her/him, i can easily start a small talk. so i think the difficulty degree to start a small talk is the gap between you and her/him. 

10:39 AM Feb 15 2016 |




I don’t think I LIKE to make small talk with strangers. If they are who I have met in the company, maybe I will try to make small talk with them. The most interesting thing I learned from small talk is what they like doing when they are free.

04:28 AM Feb 14 2016 |

marques11Super Member!


Usually I don´t like to talk to people that I don´t know, perhaps because I am a little bit shy, But if I am introduced to a person that I don´t know I try to talk to him or her, and I try to talk about things that are common in our everyday life.

06:44 PM Feb 13 2016 |




yup.. sometimes i dont know how began to speak with new person.. I’m bad at small talk too.

11:25 AM Feb 13 2016 |


United States

People talk less these days . I don’t like to talk with strangers at all . To the person who I have known , I just talk straight to the topic which I need to say . That is it ! ..... lol 

04:28 PM Feb 09 2016 |



when there is nothing i can tell people in company i usually get drunk and behave myself very badly

10:00 AM Feb 09 2016 |

1 person likes this



Basically , small talk is happened in local community or a place which suitable to start talking .
But in big cities like NY city can not expect to talk to someone who don’t know them . It’s kind of weird behave .
I should mention it , it’s possible small talk even in major big cities , when they want to talk to you no matter what kind tpics .
There are a lot of warm welcome people in local town in country side that easily to create small talk , somehow you are stranger for them .
The resaon why is no more populations there , an other word can say they allow the strangers to have small talk .
The main idea in this lesson is about humans behave in unknown or it’s better to say unexpected situation which how we can handle it .

04:30 AM Feb 09 2016 |

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