Business meeting & conference SMALL TALK – How to avoid that awkward moment!

Categories English By JadePosted on Format Film
Business meeting & conference SMALL TALK – How to avoid that awkward moment!

Do you get nervous in social situations? In this lesson, I’ll teach you expressions you can use to master small talk and have meaningful conversations while presenting a professional image. While you can use these expressions in many business and academic situations, this lesson is focused on starting conversations when you are at a conference. I share many good small talk topics that are appropriate in this context. You will learn how to talk about what you have learned at the conference and how to express your opinion about the experience, including the conference venue and speakers. This is a great lesson to watch to prepare yourself for attending a work- or school-related conference. My goal in this lesson is to help you feel confident and make the right impressions with the people you meet. For more practice, take the quiz at . Good luck!


Hi, everyone. I’m Jade. What we’re talking about today is conference talk. So, we’ve got „Conference Small Talk”, and also more generally about talking about the thing that you’re there for. The reason I made this lesson is because, hopefully, I want you to learn how to avoid that awkward moment when you’re like standing outside a conference room or somewhere, or maybe it’s a break, you could be by yourself, and you’re just standing there, like: „What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to say something? Am I supposed to talk to someone?” And maybe you start to pretend that you’re busy, get your phone out or something. So, anyway, this will save you in your awkward moment situation.

So, the small talk part, that’s where I’m imagining you’re… You’re waiting for something to happen. You’re waiting for the next talk, or there’s a break, or there’s some kind of interlude where you’re not doing something. Here are some conversational starters that you could… That you could have. You could say to someone: „Are you presenting a paper here?” That would be like an academic kind of conference. Or you could say: „Are you a speaker here?” If they look like they are.

Or you could be more general. You could say: „Is this your first time in __________?” Blah, blah, blah place? A lot of the time these kind of conference events, people come… Come there from all… You know, all different places, so it could be any place, really. Couldn’t it? But let’s say it’s in Amsterdam. „Is this your first time in Amsterdam?” And then you can generally talk about Amsterdam, and how lovely it is, and how nice it is to ride bicycles all the time.

Perhaps you kind of know each other; you’ve met before. In which case, you can ask them how they’re getting on with their work. So: „getting on”-I’m going to use a pen again-means progressing… Is the formal verb for „get on”. „How are you getting on with your research?” Or: „How are you getting on with your project?” Or: „How are you getting on at work?” You’ve met before, but this could get your… Your… This could help you catch up with each other.

What if you want to…? Want to be friends and you want to make friends at the conference? What can you say? You can say: „So, are you attending the welcome drinks tonight?” Because you want them to say: „Sure I am. Let’s go together.” You want them to say something like that, maybe.

Or if you’re not sure yet if you want to hang out later, you could say: „Where are you based?” So, the place where you’re based means the place where you… Where you work. So, I’m based in Dubai at the moment. So, you know, this one I’m thinking it’s more like if you’re all part of the same bigger company, but you have different offices in different places. Perhaps you just want to know where they’re based.

Moving on from general small talk, because not everybody likes to do small talk, we’ve got some talk about the talk, now. So: „What did you think of the last talk?” And I’ve got some suggestions for you to sound very clever and informed, like this guy. So you could say: „Yes, I thought it… It raised some interesting questions.” What that means is it was a kind of talk that made you think and consider new things, and you know, got some… Got some ideas, and some brain connections flowing, there.

Or perhaps you could say: „Well, it provoked a fierce debate.” A fierce debate would be when people are very much disagreeing with each other about what was said, and there’s not much agreement about it. Whereas: „It generated a lively discussion”, doesn’t have the opposition or against each other feeling of a fierce debate. A lively discussion is like in… On the enjoyable side of things, talking about things, and, you know, sharing different opinions, but not so much in confrontation.

Or you might say, as you’re a clever person: „It challenged the status quo.” The status quo is the established way of doing things. So, this paper may have been so, so evolutionary that it challenges the status quo.