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In the waiting room

In the waiting room

Watch Dev from India and Ana from Brazil as they practise small talk in the waiting room at the doctor's surgery. The players are trying to think of some topics of conversation. What topics would you use to make small talk with people you don't know?

After you have watched the video, there are some activities to complete and then finally, there's a quiz to check what you remember!

Ana making small talk and Dev staying quiet in the doctor's waiting room.

Making small talk

The following activities will help you, if you are trying to make small talk in the UK. 

Activity 1: In this activity, you have to match the most important vocabulary from the video with the descriptions.
Match the words to the definitions.
 

Activity 2: In this activity, you have to read the statements and decide if they are true or false.
How much did you understand?

 

Activity 3: In this activity, decide what is usually the best topic for small talk when speaking to people in the UK.
Choose the topic that you think is more suitable.
 

Quiz

Please login to take this quiz.

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Your turn

The players didn't do very well in this episode. What mistakes did they make?

Football is a good topic for small talk.

Here are some more questions for you to answer in the comments section:

Would you talk or stay quiet in Dev's situation? Would you ask a person's name?

Would you ask if someone is married?

The weather is often used for small talk in the UK. What topics are used for small talk in your country?

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Comments

Taku
17/05/2017
JP
66
points

I wouldn't ask a too personal at the first time.

The weather is often too in Japan.


Taku
17/05/2017 15:52
Japan
Leicester City
66

I wouldn't ask a too personal at the first time.

The weather is often too in Japan.

TatkaNatka
05/08/2016
RU
31
points

If you are well-educaded you should keep small talk.
First i start with safe topics such as holidays, TV, weather or sport.
The phrase " How are you?" is greeting in Britain, but in Russia it means that we really want to find out the answer. Diferent countries - diferent culture.


TatkaNatka
05/08/2016 12:05
Russia
Chelsea
31

If you are well-educaded you should keep small talk.
First i start with safe topics such as holidays, TV, weather or sport.
The phrase " How are you?" is greeting in Britain, but in Russia it means that we really want to find out the answer. Diferent countries - diferent culture.

TatkaNatka
04/08/2016
RU
31
points

Weather is a common thing in small talks. People speak about politics, travels. In the hospital some old men and women speak about their health and results of treatments. In the train people speak about everything. As for me I prefer to read a book in the train or watch the window. Small talks is a good way to be polite. Why not to use for small talks. It is not a problem for me....


TatkaNatka
04/08/2016 18:57
Russia
Chelsea
31

Weather is a common thing in small talks. People speak about politics, travels. In the hospital some old men and women speak about their health and results of treatments. In the train people speak about everything. As for me I prefer to read a book in the train or watch the window. Small talks is a good way to be polite. Why not to use for small talks. It is not a problem for me....

englishman
22/06/2016
DZ
1026
points

I do it for you


englishman
22/06/2016 16:10
Algeria
Chelsea
1026

I do it for you

TatkaNatka
04/08/2016
RU
31
points

what? small talks?


TatkaNatka
04/08/2016 18:58
Russia
Chelsea
31

what? small talks?

admin's picture
admin
04/08/2016
GB
169
points

I'm not sure what the comment meant. Don't forget, 'small talk' is uncountable - you can't have a small talk with someone - that would be a short conversation. This video is about the uncountable 'small talk' and the safe topics of conversation for when you meet someone new.

Jack

The Premier Skills English team


admin's picture
admin
04/08/2016 19:21
United Kingdom
Arsenal
169

I'm not sure what the comment meant. Don't forget, 'small talk' is uncountable - you can't have a small talk with someone - that would be a short conversation. This video is about the uncountable 'small talk' and the safe topics of conversation for when you meet someone new.

Jack

The Premier Skills English team

TatkaNatka
05/08/2016
RU
31
points

Thank you Jack. My comment was for englishman. I 've had two mistakes. First I wanted to sent a message to englishman. And the second you've just correct. I don't undestand clearly the expression "safe topics"???


TatkaNatka
05/08/2016 08:44
Russia
Chelsea
31

Thank you Jack. My comment was for englishman. I 've had two mistakes. First I wanted to sent a message to englishman. And the second you've just correct. I don't undestand clearly the expression "safe topics"???

englishman
22/06/2016
DZ
1026
points

that's it


englishman
22/06/2016 16:09
Algeria
Chelsea
1026

that's it

kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
05/06/2016
GH
3916
points

Social issues are used for small talk in my country


kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
05/06/2016 18:35
Ghana
Manchester United
3916

Social issues are used for small talk in my country

kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
05/06/2016
GH
3916
points

I wouldn't ask isfor someone is married


kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
05/06/2016 00:43
Ghana
Manchester United
3916

I wouldn't ask isfor someone is married

kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
05/06/2016
GH
3916
points

I would stay quiet


kwesimanifest's picture
kwesimanifest
05/06/2016 00:40
Ghana
Manchester United
3916

I would stay quiet

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
31/03/2016
PS
3557
points

Yes i would.


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
31/03/2016 21:06
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3557

Yes i would.

assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
31/03/2016
PS
3557
points

I would like to stay to quite.


assemjuve's picture
assemjuve
31/03/2016 21:06
Palestinian Territory
Liverpool
3557

I would like to stay to quite.

HakanUslu1881's picture
HakanUslu1881
28/02/2016
TR
1761
points

It is state dependent.
No,I wouldn't.


HakanUslu1881's picture
HakanUslu1881
28/02/2016 23:50
Turkey
Leicester City
1761

It is state dependent.
No,I wouldn't.

cisilce
25/01/2016
US
358
points

I would not ask a person's name and I would not ask to someone is married.


cisilce
25/01/2016 10:05
United States
Arsenal
358

I would not ask a person's name and I would not ask to someone is married.

nikosonris
20/11/2015
UA
2453
points

Topics for small talk in our country are weather, level of service (long queues, piles of documents to complete and poor customer care) and politics.


nikosonris
20/11/2015 15:18
Ukraine
Arsenal
2453

Topics for small talk in our country are weather, level of service (long queues, piles of documents to complete and poor customer care) and politics.

nikosonris
20/11/2015
UA
2453
points

I usually break the ice by making a comment about something aloud without asking direct questions to a person sitting next to me. If the person reacts, then I try to continue our small talk. If not, I'd rather stay quiet.


nikosonris
20/11/2015 15:13
Ukraine
Arsenal
2453

I usually break the ice by making a comment about something aloud without asking direct questions to a person sitting next to me. If the person reacts, then I try to continue our small talk. If not, I'd rather stay quiet.

MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
14/11/2015
RW
2320
points

I would stay quiet,it's not easy for me in small talk


MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
14/11/2015 18:02
Rwanda
Arsenal
2320

I would stay quiet,it's not easy for me in small talk

elghoul's picture
elghoul
12/11/2015
DZ
1542
points

Football between men and little gossips about the day to day life. Weather is also one natural topic when old men and women meet.


elghoul's picture
elghoul
12/11/2015 17:27
Algeria
Arsenal
1542

Football between men and little gossips about the day to day life. Weather is also one natural topic when old men and women meet.

bashiruddin ahmed's picture
bashiruddin ahmed
02/11/2015
BD
28
points

I would stay quiet until someone broke the ice. yes, I would ask name.I wouldn't about one's marital status. In our country after introduction you can talk almost anything.


bashiruddin ahmed's picture
bashiruddin ahmed
02/11/2015 18:41
Bangladesh
Manchester United
28

I would stay quiet until someone broke the ice. yes, I would ask name.I wouldn't about one's marital status. In our country after introduction you can talk almost anything.

MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
27/11/2015
RW
2320
points

You look good at English, thanks for expression "to break the ice"


MUGEMANYI's picture
MUGEMANYI
27/11/2015 16:37
Rwanda
Arsenal
2320

You look good at English, thanks for expression "to break the ice"

Rich's picture
Rich
02/11/2015
ES
178
points

Welcome to Premier Skills English bashiruddin ahmed! Nice use of the expression 'to break the ice'! Rich - The Premier Skills English Team


Rich's picture
Rich
02/11/2015 21:37
Spain
Liverpool
178

Welcome to Premier Skills English bashiruddin ahmed! Nice use of the expression 'to break the ice'! Rich - The Premier Skills English Team

aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
31/10/2015
ME
3527
points

I would not be delighted if someone I don't know asked me personal questions. Small talk topics in my country are tv shows, concerts, tourists vacations etc.


aragorn1986's picture
aragorn1986
31/10/2015 22:02
Montenegro
Arsenal
3527

I would not be delighted if someone I don't know asked me personal questions. Small talk topics in my country are tv shows, concerts, tourists vacations etc.

Abdallah
22/09/2015
KW
1813
points

I'd talk but showing I'm uncomfortable of the personal topics , I wouldn't ask a persons name or status to break the ice ,restaurants is the on top la small talk list in my country


Abdallah
22/09/2015 08:58
Kuwait
Chelsea
1813

I'd talk but showing I'm uncomfortable of the personal topics , I wouldn't ask a persons name or status to break the ice ,restaurants is the on top la small talk list in my country

ahelmy
12/05/2015
EG
0
points

in my country there are many topics for small talk like football , films , TV programs


ahelmy
12/05/2015 15:58
Egypt
Chelsea
0

in my country there are many topics for small talk like football , films , TV programs

frantoix
26/12/2014
ES
0
points

I think there is a mistake in the correction of one of the questions.
The inappropriate question "Are you married?" is asked by Ana, not by Dev.


frantoix
26/12/2014 19:44
Spain
Swansea City
0

I think there is a mistake in the correction of one of the questions.
The inappropriate question "Are you married?" is asked by Ana, not by Dev.

Rich's picture
Rich
27/12/2014
ES
178
points

Thanks Frantoix, we've corrected the mistake.


Rich's picture
Rich
27/12/2014 15:41
Spain
Liverpool
178

Thanks Frantoix, we've corrected the mistake.

luciall
25/11/2014
ES
0
points

i would stay quiet in this situation.
yes i would ask, no i wouldn´t.
a person´s hobbies


luciall
25/11/2014 14:20
Spain
Manchester City
0

i would stay quiet in this situation.
yes i would ask, no i wouldn´t.
a person´s hobbies

admin's picture
admin
25/11/2014
GB
169
points

Hi Luciall

I think I would probably stay quiet, too. I'm pretty rubbish at small talk.

Thanks for commenting. - Jack


admin's picture
admin
25/11/2014 15:11
United Kingdom
Arsenal
169

Hi Luciall

I think I would probably stay quiet, too. I'm pretty rubbish at small talk.

Thanks for commenting. - Jack

Leaderboard

Top Scorers
RankNameScore
1kwesimanifest3916
2assemjuve3557
3aragorn19863527
4haydi3189
5Alex_from_Ukraine2676
6nikosonris2453
7MUGEMANYI2320
8Ahmed Adam Mamado1993
9Abdallah1813
10HakanUslu18811761
Country ranking
RankNameScore
1Serbia23428
2Albania21085
3Ukraine19587
4Macedonia19390
5Bosnia and Herzegovina16071
6Kosovo13542
7Armenia13362
8Georgia12551
9Montenegro8140
10Azerbaijan7844
Club ranking
RankNameScore
1Manchester United70492
2Arsenal51133
3Liverpool48746
4Chelsea41876
5Manchester City15440
6Leicester City7634
7Tottenham Hotspur4516
8Newcastle United4125
9West Ham United3694
10Watford1649

Level

3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Goals

Vocabulary

Language related to small talk

Culture

Topics to avoid when speaking to people you don't know

Downloads

Glossary

small talk

polite conversations about ordinary topics

to break the ice

to say something to make a person feel more relaxed, especially when meeting for the first time

tricky

something that is difficult

to pass away

to die; we often say this because we don’t want to use the word ‘die’

Tips

Making Small Talk

The most important thing is not language but confidence. If you start the conversation you will find most people are happy to talk, just remember to choose the right topic!

Extension

Find out more about UK culture on the Learn English's UK Culture page.