How-to-make-small-talk-in-English-(advanced)-abaenglish

How to Start a Conversation in English

Do you know what small talk is? Literally, small talk is simply chatting about various topics, especially during social events such as weddings or conferences.

Getting started is not that difficult, it simply requires a little initiative and the knowledge of the basic concepts of the English language. Any problems will arise when you want to continue the conversation. Do you know how to overcome that moment of embarrassing silence that results when the person you are speaking to is leaving? This depends on you and your social skills, but also on your English skills. In general, with a person of different origin than your own, an ideal topic to begin with is what you know and appreciate about their country, but other themes may arise depending on the occasion.

Today, we show you some possible situations and will offer some practical ideas. Logically, we will not tell you how to say What is your name? or How are you? but rather will suggest some ideas to keep the conversation moving.

At a Wedding

Weddings are really exciting occasions! In addition to bringing together people who have affection for their spouses, they often offer the possibility of meeting people. Above all, at weddings you can find yourself sitting with strangers for hours and, if you do not have anything in common, it can be really boring. What if the person sitting next to you is an English speaker?

Hi! Who of the two are you related to?

How did you meet Frank/Maria?

Maria is my cousin. We grew up together and attended the same university. Would you believe we were together when she met Frank for the first time…

How was Frank as a child? I guess he must have been a bit naughty.

On a Plane

Travelling by plane is a great opportunity to start a conversation and to perhaps meet interesting people, especially if you will be travelling for several hours. Relax, look at your neighbour without seeming too intrusive, make a brief comment about the plane, the service or the trip itself. You will not even notice when it is time to land.

Do you often travel with this company?

I love this particular view of the English Channel. Do you often travel to London from Madrid?

Are you in Manchester for work or study?

How long have you lived in Dublin for?

How long will you stay in Florence?

I can give you some nice suggestions about where to go and what to do in Florence.

At the Doctor’s

Another opportunity to start conversations is in the waiting room of a medical clinic. If you have identified a person who wants to converse and looks quite friendly, try one of the suggestions below.

How did you find this doctor?

Have you been their patient for a long time?

I think the healthcare system in this country works very well. What do you think?

In this country, it is a bit different. For example…

On the Bus

This is another very promising opportunity. A bus trip offers many ideas related to the landscape and the destination.

Beautiful landscape, isn’t it?

This is my first time seeing the Cliffs of Moher. What about you?

In my country, we also have some beautiful bridges from Roman times. For example…

At the Hairdresser’s / Barber Shop

Another very promising situation. The wait in a beauty salon offers many opportunities to talk about fashion and style.

Are you here to have a haircut?

I noticed the hairstyles here are quite different from where I am from. For example…

This space will not allow us to present a complete series of the many occasions in which you could start a conversation in English. The secret is to be curious, nice, and to have something interesting to share. Last but not least, a good knowledge of English is essential. Why not try our online course? You will have access to 144 free video classes and the same number of short films to acquire the conversational skills you need to make new friends.

OK, I want to see a video class!
OK, I want to see a short film!

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