LIVE WITH LYNNE AND CRAIG
Conversations with strangers
Why do we make small talk?
Ice breakers and the correct intonation to make them work:
“I think we’ve met before, haven’t we?”
“Nice day, isn’t it?”
“Do you come here often?”
“Excuse me, do you mind if I join you?”
• Lack of stretch - (common for Spanish speakers - sounds
disinterested to native English speakers)
• Rising intonation at end - signals insecurity/genuine question (can be
intimidating/too intrusive as an ice breaker)
• Falling intonation at end - signals statement (this is the one to go for for
an ice breaker - it’s an non-threatening invitation to engage)
The art of asking questions
Intonation - interested intonation - lots of stretch -
keeping voice down at the end to not be too “needy”/intrusive
Body language - keep a bit of distance, smile, open your hands and arms. Make
Follow-up questions / statements showing you are listening eg. me too / no way /
wow / what a pity /that’s a shame/ that must have been + adj
Phrases to avoid conversations:
Mmmm/ No idea sorry / Must dash. Please excuse me.
Asking for information
Have you been waiting long? (bus, train)
Is this the right queue for…
Do you know where I can…
What time does….
How much is…
Safe small talk topics
Your local area
Do you find it easy to chat to strangers?
How easy is it to start a conversation with a stranger where you live?
Do you think people make conversations with strangers more easily now than in
Are there any topics to avoid when starting conversations with strangers?
Your most memorable/most annoying conversations in the street
People you’ve met for a short time and then lost touch with.
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