Department of Education

How can I make small talk?

Small talk is an informal conversation and is an important social skill. It can be a good way to make friends and get on with people around you. Here are some tips for making successful small talk:
  • A conversation is a two-sided thing – make sure you let the other person have their turn to speak, rather than speaking for too long about your special interest.
  • Ask them questions to show you are interested in them.
  • The topics of conversation and the language you use should be appropriate to the situation – for example you would talk about different things and in a different way if you are speaking to a friend than if you are speaking to your head teacher.
  • Think of a few stock questions or phrases to keep in mind for when you meet someone new.
  • Remember to think before you speak – people might find some subjects or some questions rude or too personal.
  • Practice looking directly at the person you are speaking to – that makes them feel like you are interested in the conversation.

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