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SMALL TALK: Talk to me!


Business Spotlight - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 1/2019 vom 19.12.2018

Bevor Geschäftspartner zur Sache kommen, unterhalten sie sich gerne zwanglos über allgemeine Themen. So lernen sie sich besser kennen und schaffen eine gute Atmosphäre für ihre späteren Verhandlungen. Testen Sie Ihre Fähigkeit zum Smalltalk mit diesen Übungen, die DEBORAH CAPRAS zusammengestellt hat.


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Artikelbild für den Artikel "SMALL TALK: Talk to me!" aus der Ausgabe 1/2019 von Business Spotlight. Dieses epaper sofort kaufen oder online lesen mit der Zeitschriften-Flatrate United Kiosk NEWS.

Bildquelle: Business Spotlight, Ausgabe 1/2019

DEBORAH CAPRAS Deborah Capras is a freelance author, trainer and corporate communications specialist. She’s the author ofSmall Talk , published by Collins. Contact:


THE SITUATION

Sue and Anna both work for TopTextTiles. They are colleagues, but are based in different offices. Anna is in ...

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... Munich, and Sue is in London. They are attending a textile trade fair in Hanover. As well as finding out about new trends in the industry, they will use the opportunity to connect on a personal level — with the help of small talk. They will also make small talk with people from other companies.

LISTEN

Small talk is not just about talking. You need to use active listening techniques to build relationships. One technique is to use positive expressions to show that you are listening, such as “absolutely”, “really” and “that’s interesting”. Listening carefully will help you toCONNECT!

CONNECT

Small talk is about making connections. People often connect when they discover that they have experienced similar things. Highlight what you have in common with expressions such as “Same here”, “Me, too” or “And you?”. Making connections is easier when youRELAX!

RELAX

Socializing in a relaxed atmosphere after work can help build relationships. But this can look very different depending on where you are. In some national and company cultures, people may prefer to keep their personal life private. While in some cultures, people will enjoy a drink and a burger, in others, people may avoid alcohol and meat. For small talk to work, it’s in your interest to find out what is the norm. You should always showRESPECT!

RESPECT

Small talk can be a minefield. You can’t be expected to know everything about your business partner’s culture, so misunderstandings happen. Ideally, you should be careful about making any assumptions or judgements about cultural matters — in particular about family structures, religion, traditions or politics. If you think you may have said something offensive, you can use different strategies to defuse the situation. Politely change the topic or give a good reason to end the conversation and leave. If you want to learn something about someone, thenASK!

ASK

A question tag can be used at the end of a sentence to ask for confirmation or agreement and to invite a “yes” or “no” response. Open questions — ones that start with “what”, “why”, “who”, “when”, “where”, “which” or “how” — invite longer answers and are useful for keeping a conversation going. But don’t just ask questions. It’s also important toSHARE!

SHARE

If you ask one question after another, you may come across as holding an interrogation, not a conversation. Remember to share information to make a connection and to get the conversation flowing. Be open to sharing information about your likes and dislikes. Once someone feels a personal connection, they might be happy to get down to business with you andWORK!

Making a connection: share your interests


WORK

Ideally, small talk should lead to better working relationships. It can come before, after or even during business. Take a few minutes to use small talk to learn something more about your business partners — and to share something about yourself. It provides a welcome break from hard work.GOOD LUCK!

ANSWERS

FOR MORE INFORMATION
• OurSkill Up! booklets — now available as a bundle (see page 55) — offer vocabulary from key areas of everyday business life.

HOW DID YOU DO?

Note: So that you can compare your language knowledge across different areas of business English, allBusiness Spotlight tests have a maximum possible score of 50 points.

40–50

Excellent! Congratulations! You must enjoy making small talk, as you are already able to master most situations.

30–39

Well done! You are confident in most areas. If you take every opportunity to make small talk with your international business partners, you could soon master the skill. Good luck!

18–29

Good Generally, you did well, but you could do even better. Check your results to see which areas need the most work. Do those exercises again where you didn’t score so well.

Up to 17

Could do better You’re not a huge fan of small talk, are you? Try the test again to build your confidence. And read through the tips again to help you improve your small-talk skills.


Illustration: Viktoria Kurpas/Shutterstock.com

Illustrationen: Viktoria Kurpas, Alex Epha/Shutterstock.com;