How to make FANTASTIC small talk | British English Conversation Practice (+ Free PDF & Quiz)

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2021-07-28・ 29358

English with Lucy channel


Here are 50 questions to help you make fantastic small talk in English in all situations! Get the free PDF here : https://bit.ly/50QsPDF Skillshare offer: The first 1,000 people to use this link will get a 1 month free trial of Skillshare: https://skl.sh/englishwithlucy07211 - Ad - Thank you to Skillshare for sponsoring this English Conversation Practice Lesson! Chapters: 0:00 Introduction 1:45 FREE PDF information 2:06 Skillshare Sponsor 3:19 10 Travel Questions 6:35 10 Work Questions 9:13 10 Current Affairs Questions 10:54 10 Social Events Questions 13:34 10 Weather Questions 17:20 Outtakes & Bloopers :D DO YOU WANT TO RECEIVE EMAILS FROM LUCY? Sign up here: https://bit.ly/EmailsFromLucy Don't forget to turn on subtitles if you need them! This is how I generate my subtitles (you can get a $10 subtitle coupon too): https://www.rev.com/blog/coupon/?ref=lucy (affiliate) Visit my website for free PDFs and an interactive pronunciation tool! https://englishwithlucy.co.uk​ MY SOCIAL MEDIA: Personal Channel: http://bit.ly/LucyBella​​​ (I post subtitled vlogs of my life in the English countryside! Perfect for listening practice!) Instagram: @Lucy http://bit.ly/lucyinsta​​​​​​​​​​ My British English Pronunciation Course is now LIVE: https://englishwithlucy.co.uk/pronunciationcourse (use code YOUTUBE10 for a 10% discount!) Do you want to improve your pronunciation? I have launched my British English (Modern RP) pronunciation course! I’ll train you to read phonetic transcriptions, and produce each sound that comprises modern received pronunciation. I’ll also teach you how to implement the correct use of intonation, stress, rhythm, connected speech, and much more. We’ll compare similar sounds, and look at tricky topics like the glottal stop and the dark L. Technically, I need to mark this as an AD even though it is my own company so - AD :) Want to get a copy of my English Vocabulary Planners? Click here: https://shop.englishwithlucy.co.uk - The best offer is the 4-book bundle where you get 4 planners for the price of 3. This product is very limited - don't miss out. The English Plan will be shipped from early August, from me here in England to you across the world! We ship internationally! Watch my explainer video here: https://bit.ly/TheEnglishPlanVideo Practice speaking: Earn $10 free italki credit: https://go.italki.com/englishwithlucy... (ad affiliate) Improve listening! Free Audible audiobook: https://goo.gl/LshaPp If you like my lessons, and would like to support me, you can buy me a coffee here: https://ko-fi.com/englishwithlucy FREE £26 Airbnb credit: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/c/lcondesa (ad - affiliate) Email for business enquiries ONLY: [email protected] Edited by La Ferpection: https://www.laferpection.com/​​

Instruction

Double-click on the English captions to play the video from there.

00:01
(upbeat music)
00:10
- Hello everyone.
00:11
And welcome back to English with Lucy.
00:13
I'm here once again in front
00:16
of possibly the most beautiful tree in England.
00:19
I don't know, no offence to other trees.
00:21
Now, today we are going to be talking about small talk
00:26
because I don't want to jinx it,
00:28
but it seems that the world is,
00:31
or some places in the world are slowly opening up again.
00:34
Here in the UK, supposedly we have Freedom Day
00:39
on the 19th of July where nightclubs,
00:42
bars and everything open up again,
00:44
and people have the choice to not wear masks anymore.
00:48
Let me know what the situation is like in your country
00:51
in the comments section down below.
00:53
And when I heard about this Freedom Day from the pandemic,
00:57
I suddenly thought, oh, my word,
01:00
I have not been in a big room of people
01:04
having to make conversation in a year and a half.
01:09
So I thought today we could talk about small talk
01:12
and I'm actually going to give you 50 different
01:16
small talk questions that you can use
01:19
in your next social event,
01:21
because not only are you learning English
01:23
you are also probably a little bit out of practise.
01:27
There's nothing worse than trying to make conversation
01:29
in another language and just having loads of boring,
01:33
embarrassing silences.
01:36
So all of these questions or nearly all of them
01:38
are open-ended.
01:40
So you can get really good answers from the other person.
01:43
As always I have created a free PDF
01:46
that goes with this video if you'd like to download it,
01:49
all you've got to do is click on the link
01:50
in the description box,
01:51
you enter your name and your email address,
01:54
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01:57
directly to your inbox, and then every week
02:00
after that you will automatically receive my free PDFs.
02:03
Plus all of my news offers and course information.
02:07
Before we get started, I would like to Thank
02:09
the sponsor of today's video, Skillshare,
02:11
which is an online learning community
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with thousands of inspiring classes,
02:16
for creative and curious people.
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There are so many classes to choose from.
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From writing to design, to animation,
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to business, to productivity.
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I recently took a class,
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and it transformed my email game.
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Emails used to stress me out so much,
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and this 45 minute class just taught me to filter
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Meaning there are no ads and they are always launching
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so you can start exploring your creativity.
03:09
Right.
03:10
Let's get started with the small talk.
03:13
I have divided the 50 small talk questions
03:16
into five different categories.
03:18
The first one being travel,
03:20
which is something that most of us haven't been able
03:23
to do a lot of recently.
03:25
But hopefully things are getting back to normal
03:28
and we will be able to attend conferences
03:31
and make small talk with people we don't know.
03:34
Yes.
03:35
The first question, a really good one
03:37
if you're in a new country and you're speaking to a local,
03:40
do you know of any hidden gems around here?
03:43
A hidden gem is something really, really great,
03:46
a really great place or restaurant,
03:48
that tourists don't generally know about.
03:51
In fact, not many people know about it.
03:52
You kinda have to hear about it to go there.
03:55
When I travel I always ask around for the hidden gems.
03:59
You could also put it in more simple terms.
04:01
Is there anything I should know about around here?
04:03
Are there any places I should know about?
04:06
Now generally when it comes to small talk,
04:08
it's really good to ask open questions.
04:11
Questions that can't be answered with a yes or no,
04:14
because if the answer with no and it really shuts
04:16
down the conversation,
04:18
but I think this next one is an exception.
04:20
Have you got any trips planned?
04:22
If they say, no, you can move on to another topic
04:26
of small talk.
04:27
If you know the person you're talking to,
04:29
and you know, they went on a trip recently,
04:31
you can say, "Tell me about your trip to Hawaii.
04:34
"Would you recommend it?"
04:36
If there's one thing I've learned,
04:38
people love talking about their past holidays.
04:42
Another great topic to bring up is food whilst travelling.
04:46
You could say something like I love trying new cuisines.
04:49
Have you been anywhere with really great food?
04:52
If you're with a fellow foodie,
04:54
then you know conversation is going to flow.
04:57
The next one is a great one for international conferences
05:00
where you know that the majority of people
05:02
have come in from another location.
05:05
One question I like to ask in those situations
05:07
is have you got any tips for jetlag?
05:12
I really, really struggle with it.
05:13
So if you do have any tips
05:15
please do put them in the comment section.
05:17
Now what about if you are in your hometown
05:19
but someone else has come in to visit.
05:23
You could say let me know if you need any recommendations.
05:26
I know this area pretty well.
05:28
That's a great opportunity for them to follow up with.
05:30
Yeah, actually I'm looking for somewhere for dinner tonight,
05:33
do you know anywhere?
05:34
And then you panic because you've lived here for 10 years
05:38
and you've hardly gone out.
05:40
That was like me in London as a student,
05:42
I lived there for three years
05:45
but because I never had any money
05:46
I never went to any restaurants.
05:47
So when people ask me,
05:48
"Where should I go in London?"
05:50
"I have no idea."
05:52
I just ate microwave meals.
05:53
Another great question is asking what sort of holiday
05:56
or trip someone prefers.
05:58
You could say, do you prefer a fly-and-flop holiday
06:01
or an adventure?
06:03
A fly-and-flop holiday is what it says on the tin,
06:06
you fly out to the destination,
06:08
you flop on a sunbed and you remain there for one
06:12
to two weeks and then you fly home.
06:15
Another interesting question to do with the pandemic is,
06:18
has the pandemic affected your travel plans at all?
06:20
And this will probably open up a lot of moaning
06:23
from the other person.
06:24
It would, for me, the pandemic ruined a honeymoon.
06:29
And the last one number 10 is so when are you heading back?
06:32
What do you want to do before you go back?
06:35
Right, let's move on to the topic of work.
06:38
Maybe you're trying to get to know your new colleagues
06:41
or your existing colleagues that you've hardly met before.
06:44
It's really nice to have a couple of small talk questions
06:48
up your sleeve to combat those awkward silences.
06:52
The first one.
06:53
So how did you get into marketing?
06:55
How did you get into sales?
06:58
So really nice general one.
06:59
And it invites the person to tell
07:01
you a little bit about their work history.
07:03
Two really interesting ones are what is the best career
07:07
advice you've ever received?
07:09
And then the next one,
07:10
what's the worst career advice you've ever received.
07:13
I use this one a lot
07:14
and I get some really interesting answers,
07:17
especially for the worst career advice.
07:20
The next one, a nice theoretical one,
07:23
if you were guaranteed to be successful,
07:26
what job would you want?
07:28
That's a really interesting one.
07:29
I don't even know how I would answer that.
07:31
You'll get your partner thinking there.
07:34
Another really fun one is what is the craziest
07:36
thing a boss has ever asked you to do?
07:40
I think the craziest thing a boss has ever made me do,
07:43
he didn't ask me,
07:44
is I had to knock on his door in the middle
07:47
of the night to beg for him to pay me.
07:50
It was two months late and I needed my money.
07:55
This next one is a nice way of making someone
07:58
feel part of your conversation.
07:59
You could say, I was just talking to a colleague
08:01
about our first jobs, what was yours?
08:04
Everyone who is currently working has a first job.
08:09
A really good and easy one is how long
08:11
have you been working at company?
08:14
How long have you been working at Lucy International?
08:19
My whole life darling.
08:20
(laughs)
08:22
A topic that's in the news quite a lot recently.
08:25
What do you think about this four-day work week?
08:28
I've been seeing that coming up a lot on my news apps
08:31
and I think it sounds like a fantastic idea.
08:34
If people can still maintain good productivity,
08:37
give the people an extra day off,
08:40
work to live, don't live to work.
08:43
Bring it back to the pandemic,
08:45
have you had to work from home recently?
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How did you find working from home?
08:48
That's a really good topic 'cause that shook up the lives
08:51
of many people over here in the UK.
08:54
And I'm sure all across the world as well.
08:56
And the last one, have you got any plans for the weekend?
09:00
I remember Friday and sometimes even Thursday afternoon
09:04
when I did work in an office all we could talk
09:06
about with the weekend and I loved it.
09:08
I used to count down those hours
09:09
until it was five o'clock on a Friday evening.
09:12
Oh yes.
09:13
All right, next topic, current events or current affairs.
09:17
Now, obviously people are going to talk about the pandemic.
09:20
So one question you could ask is has the pandemic
09:23
affected you much?
09:24
But remember that lots of people have lost
09:25
loved ones in this,
09:26
so they might not want to focus too much on it.
09:29
Another one is this person is from another country
09:31
you could say, how are you all getting on back home?
09:34
This invites them to open up about how the pandemic
09:37
has affected their country if they want to talk about it.
09:40
Another variation is how has the pandemic
09:43
changed life for you?
09:45
Some really great conversation starters are the next three.
09:48
I read in the paper that, I saw on the news that,
09:51
or I heard on the radio that,
09:54
and then obviously you can speak about what you've seen,
09:57
heard, or read recently.
10:00
If you know that your conversation partner is a sports fun,
10:02
you could say, did you catch the game?
10:05
Even if you don't know which game it was,
10:08
hopefully just by saying the game they'll know which game
10:12
you were talking about,
10:13
but make sure you have a game up your sleeve
10:15
for if they say, what game.
10:18
If there has been an interesting or negative situation
10:22
in another country, and you've been following
10:24
it on the news,
10:25
you could ask something like, have you been following
10:28
what's been going on in, for example.
10:31
Again, if the person is from another town
10:33
or city or country, you could say,
10:35
so what's the latest news where you're from?
10:38
And the last one,
10:39
a really interesting question that somebody
10:41
asked me the other day is which news outlets do you prefer?
10:45
And then they asked why.
10:46
And this can invite the person to share kind of indirectly
10:50
a little bit of their political leanings,
10:51
which is quite interesting.
10:53
Right.
10:54
The next topic is social events.
10:56
I haven't been to a big social event,
10:59
well, I've said it before in a year and a half.
11:01
And I'm nervous.
11:02
I'm very, very nervous.
11:03
So I can't imagine how nerve wracking it will be in a second
11:07
language or a foreign language.
11:09
So here are some questions for you to have up your sleeve
11:12
to fill in those silences.
11:14
The first one, what brings you here?
11:17
What brings you here?
11:18
And that invites them to say, oh, well I work with,
11:21
or I know or I'm going out with, for example.
11:25
If you meet somebody and you have a mutual friend,
11:28
you could ask, so how do you know, Tom?
11:31
For example.
11:33
I always find a compliment goes a long way
11:35
as long as it's a genuine one.
11:36
So you could say, wow, your dress is so unique,
11:39
where did you get it from?
11:41
I'm in two minds about the next question.
11:44
Are you enjoying yourself?
11:46
Sometimes it can be a little bit patronising.
11:48
So you've got to say it in the right tone.
11:50
But if somebody says,
11:51
no, that opens up a bonding opportunity.
11:54
If you're also not enjoying yourself you can say,
11:57
oh, Thank God me neither.
12:00
I hate social occasions.
12:02
If you aren't enjoying a social situation,
12:04
you could say something like,
12:06
I really don't normally like crowded events like these,
12:09
how about you?
12:10
And if the person says, I love them,
12:12
then you know, you might not be friends.
12:14
But if they say, God, yes, I hate them too.
12:17
Friend for life instantaneous.
12:19
If you see somebody who is hovering around on their own,
12:23
you could go up to them and say,
12:25
do you know many people here?
12:26
And if they say, no, well then you can stand
12:29
and chat with them instead.
12:31
I absolutely love it when I'm on my own at an event,
12:34
and somebody comes in to save me.
12:36
I really, really liked that.
12:38
Right.
12:39
More pandemic.
12:41
A really good way of bonding with someone
12:43
else is to kind of share a bit of vulnerability.
12:46
And one thing you could say is,
12:48
hello, I've actually not been around another human
12:51
in a whole year so I'm feeling really awkward right now.
12:54
How are you feeling?
12:56
That's a good invitation for you to bond over.
13:00
Just feeling out of practise
13:01
and not knowing how to behave in social situations anymore.
13:04
Another one I'm desperate for everything
13:07
to get back to normal.
13:07
What have you missed most?
13:09
Or when is the last time that you were able
13:12
to go to a proper party like this?
13:14
And you can both bond over how much you've missed out on.
13:18
And the last one I really liked this one, it's very meta.
13:22
What is your best tip
13:24
for figuring out small talk these days?
13:27
I love it 'cause they can instantly say something like,
13:30
just don't talk about the weather.
13:31
So then you know, not to talk to them about the weather.
13:34
But that actually brings me onto my next topic.
13:36
The weather, come on, I'm British.
13:40
Of course I'm going to talk to you about the weather.
13:43
I did save this one for last,
13:44
because I know that it's almost a cliche
13:47
to talk about the weather in Britain
13:49
whilst participating in small talk.
13:51
But our weather just changes so much.
13:53
When I started filming this video, it was sunny,
13:56
and now it looks like it's going to rain.
14:01
Look at me I'm talking about the weather.
14:03
If it's a beautiful day,
14:04
you can say it's such a beautiful day, isn't it?
14:06
And then everyone else goes, oh yes, it is lovely.
14:09
Yes, very nice.
14:09
Haven't had one like this in ages.
14:11
Or an alternative,
14:12
we couldn't ask for a nicer day, could we?
14:16
And everyone else goes, no, no we couldn't.
14:17
It's wonderful.
14:18
It's just stuffy.
14:19
So nice.
14:20
Fortunately, we don't have many days like that in the UK
14:23
so we don't get to be, Oh, yes, yes, yes, lovely,
14:25
too frequently.
14:27
If it's very sunny, you could say,
14:29
did you bring the sunshine with you
14:31
or did you order the sunshine, oh, it's lovely.
14:35
And then you can have a little joke
14:36
about yes, yes, I brought it with me in my suitcase
14:39
from Spain.
14:41
So in the UK, we have a love-hate relationship
14:44
with the meteorologist, with the weatherperson,
14:48
because when they tell us it's going to be sunny,
14:51
we love them but when they tell us it's going to rain
14:53
we just don't believe them.
14:54
And then we get caught out and about with no umbrella.
14:57
One great topic to bring up is I saw on the weather
15:00
this morning that it's going to rain, it's going to hail,
15:03
it's going to be sunny, there's going to be snow.
15:05
What do you think?
15:06
And then you can follow up with what do you think?
15:08
Do you believe them?
15:09
Do you trust them?
15:10
Another version is, do you trust the weather forecast today?
15:13
Because they said it's going to rain but it looks lovely.
15:17
If it has been raining a lot,
15:18
you can say can you believe how wet it's been?
15:22
Or can you believe all this rain we've been having?
15:25
If you're in a foreign country you can say,
15:27
is the weather normally like this?
15:29
Is it usually like this?
15:31
A really interesting one is what's the worst weather
15:34
you've ever experienced.
15:36
And that invites them to talk about maybe a country
15:38
they've visited or just a prolonged period
15:41
of terrible weather.
15:42
So I've got two more small talk questions
15:45
about the weather that kind of take the Mickey.
15:48
They joke about small talk relating to the weather.
15:53
The first one is why do we always end up making small talk
15:56
about the weather?
15:57
And then that invites you to make some small talk
15:59
about the weather together.
16:00
And the last one is, is it okay if I try to talk
16:03
to you by pretending that I'm really interested
16:06
in the weather?
16:07
(laughs)
16:08
I think that's a great one to use at a situation
16:11
like a conference where small talk
16:13
can get a little bit much.
16:15
Right.
16:16
That is it for today's lesson.
16:17
I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you learned something.
16:20
Don't forget to check out Skillshare.
16:22
Remember that the first 1000 of my students to click
16:25
on the link in the description box
16:26
will get a one month free trial of Skillshare premium.
16:30
You can also download the free PDF
16:32
that goes along with this lesson.
16:33
Just click on the link in the description box,
16:35
enter your name and your email address.
16:37
You sign up to my mailing list and I send the PDF
16:40
and all future PDFs to your inbox directly.
16:44
Don't forget to connect with me on all of my social media.
16:47
I've got my Instagram and I've got my website,
16:49
englishwithlucy.co.uk,
16:51
where I've got a really cool,
16:52
if I do say so myself pronunciation tool,
16:55
where you can click on different phonemes
16:58
and hear me pronounce those phonemes
17:00
and words containing those phonemes.
17:07
If you'd like to practise your vocabulary
17:08
and your listening skills even further
17:11
then I have got a vlogging channel
17:12
where I document my life here in the English countryside
17:15
and every single blog is fully subtitled.
17:18
I will see you soon for another lesson.
17:21
(coughs)
17:23
I promise it's not COVID and it can't pass through lenses.
17:28
I recently took a class called,
17:30
what is it called, right?
17:31
A fly-and-flop is what it says on the card.
17:36
It says on the cards, what it says on the label.
17:39
Tin.
17:40
Don't forget to connect with me on all of my social media.
17:42
I've got my Instagram.
17:45
What else have I got?
17:46
I think what I was trying to say is you have an ologist.
17:48
But if really muscly, you have a meteorologist.
17:54
Terrible.
17:55
(upbeat music)
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