November 24, 2015

Spoken English Tips: Moving from Small Talk to Business Talk

Spoken English Tips: Moving from Small Talk to Business Talk
"After learning and practicing small talk tips from you, my conversations with my US clients are more alive!"  

This kind of feedback is common among participants of the client interaction training programs. In the interactive small talk session, many often ask, 

"How do we move from small talk to business talk?" 

While small talk is crucial to building relationships, no business interaction can solely be based on small talk. At some point you will have to get down to business. There are several ways we can move from small talk to business talk depending on the situation. This post will share tips on transitioning in professional networking situations and everyday office/work-related meetings. 

Office/Work-Related Meetings
Many people skip small talk with the fear of the transition. When speaking about such casual topics, how can we politely move into more pressing or serious topics?

In a business meeting, the best way to transition from small talk to the business discussion is through building on what was said previously and segueing into the topic at hand.

While there are no set phrases for this, because it is based on the situation, an example could be:
"Your vacations sounds wonderful! After hearing about that, I am eagerly awaiting my own vacation. But, before that, we have a few important matters to discuss....."

Or, a more formal way is to work the agenda into the discussion. For example, "It's great to hear the team is doing well and had a nice weekend. Moving on to the agenda for the day, we will be discussing TOPIC. There are three sections to today's meeting: A, B, and C. I will now hand over the meeting to NAME who will be handling topic A." 

Professional Networking/Conference Events
While the tip above can be used in this situation as well, some more ideas are this video by Katen Consulting

Jennifer Kumar, an American citizen with more than 10 years experience working in the US, delivers US cross-cultural training and business development programs to Indians working with US clients. She is based in Kochi, Kerala. Contact her today.

Related Posts:
Introducing yourself to Americans  
Sound more natural speaking English to native speakers 
Idiom and slang phrases about talking   

Networked blogs link:
Photo credit: Jopwell by Pexels

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.