April 7, 2015

Making Small Talk Easy

Today, I have stumbled across a video that helps you to learn how to make small talk with any American with an easy formula.  

After you are asked a question, answer it like this:  
  1. Yes or No  
  2. One or two sentences to back up your answer  
  3. A question to turn it back to your conversational partner  
For instance:  
You are asked, “Do you like your job?”  
You can answer, “Yes, my job is challenging. As I work at TCS, I get to interact with a lot of foreign clients. Sometimes, I even am able to travel abroad to meet them in person. How about you?”  

Typically, in any American greetings or small talk, one can answer with the same question that was asked or a variant of that question. For example:  
"How are you?"  
"Good. How are you?"  

Or…
"How are you?"
"Good, and you?"

One more example:
“Have a great weekend!”
“You, too, have a good one!”

In this case, “one” refers to weekend, and is used in response to other saluations like:
“Have a great holiday.”
“You, too, have a good one!”

“Have fun on your vacation!”
“Same here… have a good one!"
(Do not say “you, too” here unless you and your colleague have the same vacation days off.)

Take a look at this helpful video for more good examples.
(This video is not created by Authentic Journeys, nor does Authentic Journeys endorse the products or services in this video. To see this video on YouTube, click here.)

Two important considerations:
  1. In the above video, she suggests to ask small talk questions about one's family. I'd suggest to only ask such questions if the person you're speaking with talks about their family first. Otherwise, Americans may feel uncomfortable to talk about family or relationships. It's always better to stick to small talk topics that deal with the person him or herself.
  2. The question she suggests to use to return the conversation is "How about you?" Notice how she pronounces this. This is not said word by word - "How --- about --- you?" It's said somewhat fast and sounds like, "Howboucha". This is because in American English when one word ends with a T and the next word starts with a Y sound, the T and Y are dropped and a new sound 'CH' is created. Understanding these formulas will help you understand when Americans talk fast. More on these combined sounds by clicking here.
Testimonial from a successful client.



Jennifer Kumar, author of this blog, is a corporate trainer helping Indians communicate with more clarity and cultural understanding with their American counterparts. For more information on her cultural training programs, click here. Contact her today for more information on these exciting and interactive programs for your team today!

Related Posts:
Small Talk with Americans   
"How did it go?" - A common question used in American conversations  
How to make small talk with US colleagues    
T+Y = CH!? - Learn more about sound combining in American English 

Networked blogs link: http://networkedblogs.com/MGNf2

No comments:

Post a Comment