Small Talk | Useful Phrases & Questions for Everyday Conversation

Lesson Overview

Lesson Summary 

(Part 2) Small Talk phrases & Questions for Everyday English Conversations!

This English lesson is jam-packed with useful phrases and expressions to help you feel confident in daily conversation & master great small talk in English!

This lesson is PART 2 & it includes phrases to:

  • Talk about the news & current affairs
  • Talk at social/networking events
  • END your conversation!

Watch Part 1 here!

‍♀️ Practise a small talk conversation with me! Try this speaking lesson where we’ll have an everyday small talk conversation at work!


Video Transcript
Section 1

Well hey there! I’m Emma from mmmEnglish! If you want to improve your English conversation skills, this lesson is definitely for you. It’s actually part two in a series that I’ve made about small talk so I’m sharing all of the essential phrases and expressions that you need to know to be successful with your small talk conversations in English.

In part one I shared some really useful everyday questions and phrases to talk about work, the weather, hobbies and your free time. And I’m definitely gonna link to that video at the end but in this one, I’m gonna dive a little deeper and I’m gonna share some useful questions or ideas to help you spark some small talk conversations about news and current affairs.

I’m also going to be talking about how to start a conversation at a social event or a networking event when you don’t really know anyone there.

Awkward.

And most importantly, I’m going to talk about how to end that conversation in a relaxed and friendly way so that you’ve got the opportunity to do it all again sometime in the future.

So let’s dive in!

News & current affairs

Discussing news or current affairs can be a really great ice breaker. You just need to make sure you keep it light, okay so avoiding topics that might cause offence or prompt an argument or a disagreement of some kind. Politics, religion any sort of strong opinion about something, it’s best to avoid. Small talk is not the place for that.

Start with something simple and the question:

Did you hear about…?

is a really useful one in this situation because you can pick anything relevant that you read in the paper that morning or you heard on the radio, something that is on the news at that moment.

Did you hear about the train strike in Melbourne last week? You can also introduce a topic by saying:

I read…

  • I read that Point Cook is the most multicultural suburb in Australia.
  • I had no idea!

Or

I heard…

  • I heard on the radio that the Queen’s visiting next month.

In order to really get your conversation flowing though you need to make sure that you follow up with a question or something that invites their opinion or their thought on whatever you shared. Conversation is two ways, right?

So you could always follow up with a question like:

  • So what do you think about that?
  • What are your thoughts?
  • How do you feel about that?

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At a social or networking event

Okay so now I’m going to share a couple of really useful phrases to help you at social or networking events.

Sometimes these can be really awkward or uncomfortable places when you’re standing with someone that you don’t really know and you don’t have anything really to talk about.

Well if you have a friend or a colleague in common that you both know you can start with that.

  • So, how do you know Ed?

Otherwise you can try and work out how you might know them or how you’re connected.

  • Have we met before? You look familiar.

You can always try giving a compliment, that works really well.

  • I love that dress. Can I ask where you got it from?

Now sometimes you actually meet people who you know quite well over the phone, you maybe deal with them a lot via email but you’ve never actually met in person so a good thing to say at that point is:

  • It’s great to finally put a face to the name!

And when you get introduced to someone that you’ve heard about that you’ve never met before, you can say:

  • I’ve heard so much about you.

The best response to this is:

  • All good I hope?

And this just means I hope that everything you’ve heard about me was good and not bad which sounds a bit funny but it’s really common and it definitely helps to relax the conversation with a little bit of humour which is always nice.

  • I hope that everything you’ve heard about me is good.

Phrases to end a conversation

Now of course a lesson about small talk would not be complete without some phrases to help you end the conversation. This is crucial. Sometimes it can be the most difficult part. Once you’ve started and you’re thinking yeah okay this is good, I’m asking some questions and then okay I’m running out of things to say now.

Abort! Get out!

So how do you politely end your conversation and just get back to doing what you were doing? I mean you can’t just say: Okay bye!

That is really awkward and uncomfortable for everyone, isn’t it?

Okay bye.

If you’re at work you can say something like:

  • Well I’d better get back to work or I’d better get back to it. I’ll see you around!

At a social event you could say:

  • I’d better keep moving, it was nice chatting.

Or you can kind of make up an excuse that you need to leave and say something like:

  • I’m looking for Jennifer. You haven’t seen her around anywhere, have you?
  • I was just looking for the bathroom. Do you know where it is?
  • I’m gonna go grab a drink. I’ll see you in a bit.

These last three are a little less direct. I’m not saying okay I’m done with this conversation now. I don’t want to talk with you anymore. I’m just politely moving away to do something else right so it doesn’t cause offence to the other person that you’re talking to.

You’re just moving along and then you end the conversation comfortably and it makes it easy to come back and start a new conversation with that person at some other time.


Well done! A huge high five to you if you got all the way through part one and part two of this series about small talk.

If you did you’ve learned over fifty phrases and questions and potential answers that will help you to make small talk in English.

So all you need to do now is to make sure that you put it into practice, make sure you do that. Just studying them and learning them and trying to remember them is not going to help. You need to try this out. Do that wherever you speak English. All right?

Thank you for watching and I appreciate you being here with me today. If you did enjoy the lesson make sure you like it, you subscribe to the channel.

As you know at mmmEnglish, I’ve got new lessons coming out for you every week so you definitely want to be here when I bring out the next one. For now, let’s check out this one together!

Links mentioned in the video

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