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December 16, 2018

Small Talk With US Americans: Cross-Cultural Training

Small Talk With US Americans: Cross-Culture Training

If you answer 'yes' to any of the following, this program is for you:
  • Do you avoid small talk because you worry you will make mistakes and broach incorrect topics?
  • Or, maybe you aren't sure how to talk about unknown topics like American sports (football, baseball)?
  • Do you wonder how long small talk should be or how to transition from small talk to business talk?
This seminar will help you gain confidence in making small talk with Americans in a culturally competent way in a range business settings, from face to face meetings, to virtual meetings, conferences, and email interactions.

Get real time feedback from an American trainer conversant in both American and Indian ways!

Small Talk With Americans: Cross-Culture Training

How you will feel better after working with us 
"Small talk is a technique of talking, a way to make contact with people, and the glue that creates and maintains contact with colleagues and business partners. I would like to thank Jennifer as she guided me to improve this technique. I did not understand the importance of small talk. I now realize that making small talk has helped me to improve relationships with colleagues and clients. When I make small talk, it makes the meeting come alive. I can feel the difference. It really helps."
Keyur Raval, SAP B1 Consultant

"My US client did not make small talk, so I did not think it would make a difference if I did. Jennifer suggested me to try a few tips, and if they did not work, I could stop. I was so shocked that after trying her tips for just a few short weeks, interactions with the client became friendlier. We got to learn a little about each other beyond work, which helped us relate to each other better."
Financial Analyst, Bangalore

"We Indians tend to stick to our own groups in the US. We either talk to other Indians in English or other Keralites in Malayalam. We don't even realize we don't include Americans. Jennifer's training helped me understand the importance of inclusion both in spoken English and body language. This helps me and my team mates feel more included in interactions with the client onsite."
Engineer with 20 plus years experience

"When we talk to the client, we don't want to appear like we don't know anything. That's why most of us shy away from small talk. Jennifer helped my team and I understand that not knowing is ok. We can ask questions. We can get to know our client. This is how relationships work in India, too. She made it seem normal and natural. We all related to it. Now being stuck with my client in a rush-hour traffic jam is not as scary as it used to be!"
UST Global Participant


In our programs, we can organize small talk topics into acceptable, cautionary and avoidable in a professional environment. From here, we can then create a bank of questions that can be used with our international counterparts.

How this helps your team and why it's important 
Many get tongue tied or are reluctant to start making small talk with US counterparts for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons I have heard include: 
  • I do not know what to say.
  • I do not want to offend them.
  • How do I continue the conversation?
    How do I switch over to business conversation?
  • Will they like it? Maybe they will not like it.
  • My US counterpart doesn't make small talk, so I should not. (Turns out the US counterpart may not for the same reason the foreign counterpart does not!) 

We have successfully helped many professionals like you to overcome these barriers and even create more fulfilling working relationships with their US counterparts. In one case study, a mid level career professional was relieved to find that once he applied the lessons from these sessions that getting work done became easier, and the incidence of escalations decreased because he was able to handle all types of conversations with more ease after learning more about his counterpart through small talk. 

Ready to Start Working With Us?

...Keep Reading...

Audience Profile
Who attends this training? 
Career professionals like you who want to improve their working relationships with US counterparts through small talk.  

While a majority of those who have attended this training speak English as a Second Language (third or fourth language), we have also facilitated these sessions to English as First Language speakers who are not familiar with US culture. 

We also expose you to the THREE types of small talk Americans use- which may surprise you!

Job Titles of Participants Include
Business AnalystProject LeadSr. Assoc. Vice President
CEORisk AnalystSenior Software Developer
Delivery ManagerSystem Analyst     Sales and Business Development
Human Resources      Team LeadTest Manager

As we tailor the intervention to the individual or small group, duration varies from:
5- 20 hours in 1:1 coaching sessions
a few to 20 sessions
over a period of 3-4 four months
with a one hour follow up after one month after completion

Syllabus Overview

Section 1: Making a Memorable First Impression

First interactions in face-to-face, virtual and email settings with Americans. We learn and practice how to:

  • Introduce yourself and others in your group
  • Refer to those you don't know
  • Shake hands with confidence
  • Use and understand body language, eye contact, and personal space
  • Dress appropriately for the setting
Section 2: Small Talk Dos and Don'ts
  • Comparing acceptable and unacceptable topics
  • Drafting questions to ask, questions to avoid
  • First meetings and small talk
  • Learning the correct flow for small talk, transition into business talk
  • Use of pleasantries
  • Importance of English as a common language in cross-cultural business settings
  • Small Talk talk in groups in office environments promoting diversity and inclusion among international team members
  • Entering and exiting discussions (group discussion skills)
  • Handling taboo topics and unknown topics
  • The three kinds of small talk in virtual meetings and emails
Section 3: US Holidays and Small Talk

Section 4: Role Play – Small Talk in Business Meetings

Facilitation Method:
Our method is a blend of coaching, advising, and training. This not only offers you a flexible approach, but an approach that is not dependent on traditional training or classroom learning.

As a learner, you will take responsibility for your learning objectives and outcomes based on the highly interactive and individualized approach of our sessions. 

Our goal is to make each session have tangible, practical outcomes that you can use on the job today with clients, colleagues and stakeholders.

Our email coaching process

Options/ Customizations

Add these bells and whistles: 
  • Certificates: A digital certificate you can showcase as part of your career portfolio can be issued upon completion. 
  • Small Talk Newsletter: This newsletter, delivered to you about 10 times a year, just before most major U.S. holidays and observances will build context for non U.S. Americans to make connections with their US counterparts. Try it out for free below! 

U.S. Small Talk Newsletter

Related Training Programs:

Let's start the conversation....

...Thank you for considering working with us!...

Contact us to start your program today or write in the comment section below.

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.