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Small Talk: 15 Questions To Boost Your Networking Game

Category: Business English Skills | 2018-04-12

One of the things I hear most often from my students is that they want to practice their small talk skills, but hate talking about the weather. Well believe it or not, small talk isn’t all about the weather. In fact, it can be much more than that.

If you’re fed up with talking about the weather and your plans for the weekend, here are fifteen questions to add to your small talk arsenal.

Bonus points: These questions are also great getting-to-know-you style questions. They can easily be used outside the workplace when you meet someone new, or can even help you get to know old friends better!

15 Simple Questions To Improve Your Small Talk Skills

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1. What surprises you the most about your job?

Maybe it’s that the copier somehow always seems to be out of toner, or that they’ve gotten to travel somewhere they never thought they would see. Follow up on their answer, and maybe you’ll have a new appreciation for the job!

2. Which would you rather do: work four 10-hour days or five 8-hour days?

Would you work longer days in order to have a 3-day weekend? I know I would!

3. What was your first job?

People always seem to start off with odd jobs when they first enter the workforce, so why not find out what your coworkers did? They might have a very interesting path that led them to where they are now.

4. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

Speaking of odd jobs, there are some really strange ones out there. Did anyone else work in a kilt store during university? No? Just me?

5. What book are you reading at the moment?

This is an easy one to fill in with other hobbies. You can ask about movies, TV shows, theater plays…almost anything! And the best part is that you’ll have a recommendation to add to your list.

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6. What’s your favorite comfort food? Why?

Macaroni and cheese, pancakes, their mom’s chicken recipe… everyone has a go-to comfort food that cheers then up when they’re feeling sad. There also might be a great story behind it.

7. What is your absolute favorite restaurant/bar in town?

Stuck on where to go out to eat this weekend? This isn’t only a great conversation starter, but you may find a new favorite restaurant while you’re at it.

8. Do you speak any other languages? Why did you pick that language?

People may surprise you with the languages they speak and why they speak them. Maybe their father was Finnish, and so they speak fluent Finnish. This question can really help you get to know people!

9. What’s the last place you traveled to? What’s the coolest thing you did there?

People love telling their cool vacation stories, so here’s their chance!

10. What was your favorite thing to do after school when you were a kid?

Little League Baseball, playing tag, practicing piano… your co-workers may have a lot of hidden talents you don’t know about!

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11. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

With this question, you may find your new life motto!

12. If you could have any superpower, what would you have?

Just about everyone loves a good superhero movie, so why not find out what superhero and superhero powers they like best? This could be a really fun conversation to be a part of.

13. Which person, place, or thing immediately reminds you of your childhood?

We all have things that take us straight back to our childhood, whether it’s the smell of summer air, the sight of your mom’s cookie jar, or a certain phrase that you’ve only ever heard your dad use. Bring on the nostalgia!

14. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

We rarely end up doing what we thought we would do when we were 7, but this question can tell you a lot about a person.

15. Where have you always wanted to visit?

What’s on their bucket list? All you have to do is ask!






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Putting it All Together

Improving your small talk skills is an important part of socializing. All of these questions are great ways of getting to know your coworkers, and even your friends better. They’ll lead to interesting conversations, and you may even learn something about yourself! Do you have any go-to small talk questions? Share them with us in the comments below!

If you want an easy way to improve your small talk skills, sign up for our monthly newsletter and receive a 7-day FREE TRIAL of our online English course. Also get more tips, articles and exclusive deals. Cheers!

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