Small Talk When? With Whom?

Small Talk – When? With Whom?

When and with whom?


This is the second part of a 5-week training course on small talk.  You can download a free pdf workbook for the 5-week training course hereThis week I’m telling you about the when and with whom concerning small talk.

When I ask the questions ‘when do you make small talk?’ and ‘with whom do you make small talk?’ the standard replies are on business trips, at seminars, at trade fairs with the people you meet there. So you could assume from these replies that it’s something you only need for special occasions.


Honestly? Are you sure that’s correct?


Well, it’s not. Think about an everyday situation in your native language. When you’re on your way to work and you stop by the coffee shop to grab your lactose-free latté with extra espresso. You stand in line and wait your turn. That’s probably your first chance for making small talk, be it with the person in front of you or behind you. Unless you are not a very communicative person, you make small talk all day long without noticing.

On a normal day, if you’re like me self-employed, then you don’t normally leave your home for the office. On Monday mornings I work from home, i.e. I make small talk online, on the phone and by email with everyone I have contact with.

On Tuesday mornings I have an offline course I teach. So I drive there by car and the first person I make small talk with is the security guard at the reception, who by the way speaks English too. Then on my way to the course I sometimes meet people and make small talk with them as well, till I finally reach the office with my participants and we commence with -would you have guessed it – small talk too.

These are just a few examples of when I make small talk and with whom. Actually we make small talk the whole time before getting to the point.

In some situations like networking events or trade fairs you have a specific goal with your small talk. You want to engage in a longer conversation and build a relationship with your counterpart. Why should you do this? Making small talk is a way of gaining information, maintaining contacts, winning new contacts or even winning contracts. Remember what I said last week? In some cultures if you don’t small talk, you don’t do business. Due to globalisation this is a trend which is becoming more popular.


So let’s sum up…



The first time you meet someone

When you meet again, e.g. when you arrive at work

During a break, e.g. in a meeting, at a conference or at work

Networking events, trade fairs

When someone acknowledges you and wants to make small talk in any situation


Who? With …

new contacts

course / seminar participants

other people you meet for the first time


other people you see regularly

business contacts


other people you haven’t seen for a long time


Now in some jobs having highly developed social skills is a required qualification. So what do you do?


Are you a …


sales rep?



office assistant?

team leader?




How important is small talk for you?

For Yvette and me it is very important, because we work with people. We want to and need to build relationships with them. In order to help them improve their communication skills in English, we need to learn about their needs and their style. Everyone has his or her own style of communicating, which is good because it makes us unique. We are here to help you find and manifest your unique style of communicating in English, and small talk is part of communicating.

In case you don’t know what to talk about, I have you covered. Next week I’ll tell you which topics are safe and which are no-go topics. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog. Let me know your thoughts.

Of course, you can just schedule a call with me and tell me your thoughtsClick here to schedule a call now!

Or connect with me on social media like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. 

One more thing

We’d like to thank you for tuning in and downloading the podcast. We’d love to hear more from you. Most importantly you can help us by rating us on iTunes and if you like leave a review. By doing that you’ll help us get a bigger reach. We know that rating us takes up your time and that’s why we’ve decided to raffle three books among all of you who rate us on iTunes.

All you have to do to take part is to rate us and leave a comment. Make a screenshot of your rating and comment and send it to us either by email or as a DM on Instagram.

These are the books you can win: Atomic Habits by James Clear, Denglish for Better Knowers by Adam Fletcher and Paul Hawkins and Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker. You can participate throughout February 2019. We will make the draw on 5 March 2019.


Take care


PS Yvette and I have a podcast called “Your English Podcast”.  You can find it on iTunes and on Spotify sign up for it, so you don’t miss the next episode.

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