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What is Small Talk?

January 19, 2018 , by Dr Julian Northbrook

What even is small talk?

The dictionary defines it thus: light conversation; chitchat.

First, small talk and chitchat aren’t necessarily the same thing. We tend to chitchat with people that we know and are already friendly with. Small talk, however, is often with people we don’t know (which can be far more difficult).

And while it is “light” conversation…

… it’s still very important.

I’ve no idea who first said this, but:

People do business with people they know, like and trust

Human beings are group animals.

But we don’t tend to make groups with people who are different to us – rather, we tend to make groups with people who are similar.

People who have similar lives.

Similar worldviews.

Similar interests.

How do you think we work out who are a good match for us?

A big part of it is small talk.

Especially with people you’re meeting for the first time. But also people you have established relationships with.

Small talk doesn’t just fill awkward silence, you see. It is how we find out if we have similar interests as other people, think in the same way, have similar values and ultimately build rapport.

That’s why on the 27th of this month I’ll be holding a seminar called Small Talk Superhero. You’ll learn how small talk works in English, the things you definitely should say when chatting with people for the first time, things you definitely shouldn’t say…

… and more.

The place to join us is here.

This is an in person only event, so you have to be either near Tokyo or willing to travel (and many people do).

Join us in Small Talk Superhero.


Smalltalk Super Hero

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