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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

Gabriel Amaral's picture
Gabriel Amaral
15/03/2021
BR
1512
points

I'ld probabbly start a conversation, but analysing the context to not bring a undesirable talking. And I would ask some names, certain.
I don't think there is a problem asking if a person is married...but first I would search for a ring.
In my country is common to use weather as well, but football and politics are very common nowadays.


Gabriel Amaral's picture
Gabriel Amaral
15/03/2021 13:55
Brazil
Arsenal
1512

I'ld probabbly start a conversation, but analysing the context to not bring a undesirable talking. And I would ask some names, certain.
I don't think there is a problem asking if a person is married...but first I would search for a ring.
In my country is common to use weather as well, but football and politics are very common nowadays.

Douglas
05/03/2021
BR
22
points

I usually talk with in these situations.
No, I didn't.
In my country we use to talk about football.


Douglas
05/03/2021 01:27
Brazil
Manchester United
22

I usually talk with in these situations.
No, I didn't.
In my country we use to talk about football.

TEACHER BAO's picture
TEACHER BAO
25/10/2020
VN
30
points

Useful lesson,today I am teaching my students this lesson,they are scared of speaking English with foreigners.


TEACHER BAO's picture
TEACHER BAO
25/10/2020 09:44
Vietnam
Newcastle United
30

Useful lesson,today I am teaching my students this lesson,they are scared of speaking English with foreigners.

Izabela
25/06/2020
BR
1505
points

Nice!


Izabela
25/06/2020 01:48
Brazil
Newcastle United
1505

Nice!

mobeckham's picture
mobeckham
07/06/2020
TR
6371
points

In Turkey we usually talk about the weather as well and sometimes about jobs and studies. Also , we talk about which cities we are from and so on .....


mobeckham's picture
mobeckham
07/06/2020 23:51
Turkey
Manchester United
6371

In Turkey we usually talk about the weather as well and sometimes about jobs and studies. Also , we talk about which cities we are from and so on .....

mobeckham's picture
mobeckham
07/06/2020
TR
6371
points

In these kinds of situations , I'd rather speak about the weather and what I like about England like it's my first visit and I like the people as they are so friendly and so on .....
We can exchange names but later on not the first question when we get to know each other a bit after a small chit-chat


mobeckham's picture
mobeckham
07/06/2020 23:50
Turkey
Manchester United
6371

In these kinds of situations , I'd rather speak about the weather and what I like about England like it's my first visit and I like the people as they are so friendly and so on .....
We can exchange names but later on not the first question when we get to know each other a bit after a small chit-chat

jjosebadillo's picture
jjosebadillo
24/11/2019
MX
434
points

I like to be still
I wouldn't ask anyone if he's married
In Mexico, the busiest question is about food


jjosebadillo's picture
jjosebadillo
24/11/2019 19:40
Mexico
Wolverhampton Wanderers
434

I like to be still
I wouldn't ask anyone if he's married
In Mexico, the busiest question is about food

yacine's picture
yacine
19/09/2019
DZ
196
points

i don't mind

to me it's normal

we can start with any thing


yacine's picture
yacine
19/09/2019 14:00
Algeria
Manchester United
196

i don't mind

to me it's normal

we can start with any thing

englishman
27/08/2019
DZ
1727
points

yes


englishman
27/08/2019 12:49
Algeria
Manchester City
1727

yes

englishman
27/08/2019
DZ
1727
points

ok


englishman
27/08/2019 12:48
Algeria
Manchester City
1727

ok

ldzingirai's picture
ldzingirai
14/04/2019
ZW
1742
points

In Zimbabwe topical issues are usually the best topics to break the ice.But, if the other part is uninterested then try more common topics weather and sport.


ldzingirai's picture
ldzingirai
14/04/2019 05:33
Zimbabwe
Chelsea
1742

In Zimbabwe topical issues are usually the best topics to break the ice.But, if the other part is uninterested then try more common topics weather and sport.

urielgarfias5
29/08/2018
MX
11
points

I would remain silent
Yes, I would
No
what do you like?


urielgarfias5
29/08/2018 16:51
Mexico
Manchester City
11

I would remain silent
Yes, I would
No
what do you like?

freddymtz
29/08/2018
MX
5
points

Yes because there's nothing wrong.

Only if it's a person that I know.

Football, baloncesto .

In my opinion this video is great! I like this lesson so much.


freddymtz
29/08/2018 16:43
Mexico
Manchester United
5

Yes because there's nothing wrong.

Only if it's a person that I know.

Football, baloncesto .

In my opinion this video is great! I like this lesson so much.

Senseimoy
29/08/2018
MX
7
points

i try to speak with the persons and ask them their name, amd i dont ask something about her houseband I think that I can break the ice with topics as: videogames, school or basic questions: what time is it?, Can you let me one peso?, etc.


Senseimoy
29/08/2018 16:26
Mexico
Manchester United
7

i try to speak with the persons and ask them their name, amd i dont ask something about her houseband I think that I can break the ice with topics as: videogames, school or basic questions: what time is it?, Can you let me one peso?, etc.

fernandaperez
29/08/2018
MX
5
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.


fernandaperez
29/08/2018 16:20
Mexico
Manchester United
5

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.

Fernando Carmona
29/08/2018
MX
12
points

I would speak so that the tension would be lost and if I would ask your name to someone to start the conversatio
Do not ask if he is married directly, he would do it discreetly
they talk about their vocation


Fernando Carmona
29/08/2018 16:19
Mexico
Manchester United
12

I would speak so that the tension would be lost and if I would ask your name to someone to start the conversatio
Do not ask if he is married directly, he would do it discreetly
they talk about their vocation

Fer Quintos
29/08/2018
MX
7
points

No, I'll stay quiet, waiting my turn.
No, because is a personal topic.
The traffic, the crime, the new president, the music that everyone listens.


Fer Quintos
29/08/2018 16:07
Mexico
Wolverhampton Wanderers
7

No, I'll stay quiet, waiting my turn.
No, because is a personal topic.
The traffic, the crime, the new president, the music that everyone listens.

fernando abel
29/08/2018
MX
4
points

from my point of view for making small talk be necessary: do not personal question


fernando abel
29/08/2018 16:06
Mexico
Wolverhampton Wanderers
4

from my point of view for making small talk be necessary: do not personal question

Jesse
29/08/2018
MX
4
points

In the video there are 3 persons that speak but are strangers and try meet of differents topics.


Jesse
29/08/2018 16:05
Mexico
Wolverhampton Wanderers
4

In the video there are 3 persons that speak but are strangers and try meet of differents topics.

BrunoIchigawa's picture
BrunoIchigawa
29/08/2018
MX
13
points

In my country people always ask the person's name when they are meeting someone. So for me isn't bad to ask somedoy his or her name.
I wouldn't ask sombady if he or she is married because I don't know that person very well. And it would make the person feel uncomfortable.
Usually in Mexico we ask things like Age, Music, Degree, Where they live, etc.


BrunoIchigawa's picture
BrunoIchigawa
29/08/2018 16:04
Mexico
Manchester United
13

In my country people always ask the person's name when they are meeting someone. So for me isn't bad to ask somedoy his or her name.
I wouldn't ask sombady if he or she is married because I don't know that person very well. And it would make the person feel uncomfortable.
Usually in Mexico we ask things like Age, Music, Degree, Where they live, etc.

jesus31
29/08/2018
MX
6
points

I would stay quiet in dev's situation and probably I would ask a person's name.
No, I wouldn't ask if someone is married.
In my country the topics for small talk are family, holidays, music, school,etc.


jesus31
29/08/2018 16:02
Mexico
Manchester City
6

I would stay quiet in dev's situation and probably I would ask a person's name.
No, I wouldn't ask if someone is married.
In my country the topics for small talk are family, holidays, music, school,etc.

ingridhamilton
29/08/2018
MX
7
points

In my opionion I would not ask any person about his name in the first and small conversation. Furthermore, I would not ask people about about their personal life such as mariage divorce and what they like or don't like.


ingridhamilton
29/08/2018 16:02
Mexico
West Ham United
7

In my opionion I would not ask any person about his name in the first and small conversation. Furthermore, I would not ask people about about their personal life such as mariage divorce and what they like or don't like.

Nahabi's picture
Nahabi
29/08/2018
MX
13
points

If I were in Dev´s situation I would to ask the person´s name to start a conversation
If I were with an stranger I wouldn´t ask if he/she is married. Because that ask is personal and uncomfortable
We usually break the ice asking the time, the person´s name or asking about an opinion of something


Nahabi's picture
Nahabi
29/08/2018 16:02
Mexico
Manchester United
13

If I were in Dev´s situation I would to ask the person´s name to start a conversation
If I were with an stranger I wouldn´t ask if he/she is married. Because that ask is personal and uncomfortable
We usually break the ice asking the time, the person´s name or asking about an opinion of something

ingridhamilton
29/08/2018
MX
7
points

In my opionion I would not ask any person about his name in the first and small conversation. Furthermore, I would not ask people about about their personal life such as mariage divorce and what they like or don't like.


ingridhamilton
29/08/2018 16:01
Mexico
West Ham United
7

In my opionion I would not ask any person about his name in the first and small conversation. Furthermore, I would not ask people about about their personal life such as mariage divorce and what they like or don't like.

Alex_Cata21
29/08/2018
MX
6
points

*in the dev's situation, I would stay quiet and don't ask the person's name.
*I would not ask personal information about the person that i try to talk.
*the topics tha we dialogue in small talk probably are the weather, the music that he or she listen, the likes that the person have,if she or he read a book,etc


Alex_Cata21
29/08/2018 16:01
Mexico
West Ham United
6

*in the dev's situation, I would stay quiet and don't ask the person's name.
*I would not ask personal information about the person that i try to talk.
*the topics tha we dialogue in small talk probably are the weather, the music that he or she listen, the likes that the person have,if she or he read a book,etc

yonathan
29/08/2018
MX
5
points

I am talk with the people.I do not quiet during the convertation. I aks what is your marrital status in this moment?what the people hates those questions.the mexico I ask about your like .


yonathan
29/08/2018 15:59
Mexico
Manchester United
5

I am talk with the people.I do not quiet during the convertation. I aks what is your marrital status in this moment?what the people hates those questions.the mexico I ask about your like .

Abril ES
29/08/2018
MX
11
points

I'd not try to start the conversation, because it's uncomfortable.
I'd not ask the person's name.
I'd not ask if someone is married.
In my country, talk about football, food, etc.


Abril ES
29/08/2018 15:59
Mexico
Manchester United
11

I'd not try to start the conversation, because it's uncomfortable.
I'd not ask the person's name.
I'd not ask if someone is married.
In my country, talk about football, food, etc.

ANGEL
29/08/2018
BR
5
points

I would speak
If I asked your name
I would not ask if he is married
in my country there is a lot of talk about soccer


ANGEL
29/08/2018 15:59
Brazil
Chelsea
5

I would speak
If I asked your name
I would not ask if he is married
in my country there is a lot of talk about soccer

mario22
29/08/2018
MX
7
points

I did not know a more fun way to learn English, jajaja.


mario22
29/08/2018 15:58
Mexico
Chelsea
7

I did not know a more fun way to learn English, jajaja.

yonathan
29/08/2018
MX
5
points

I am talk with the people.I do not quiet during the convertation. I aks what is your marrital status in this moment?what the people hates those questions.the mexico I ask about your like .


yonathan
29/08/2018 15:58
Mexico
Manchester United
5

I am talk with the people.I do not quiet during the convertation. I aks what is your marrital status in this moment?what the people hates those questions.the mexico I ask about your like .

Javier AC's picture
Javier AC
29/08/2018
MX
9
points

1. maybe I would talk about topic diferent
2. yes, I would ask the name of the person
3. No, I don´t would ask that question


Javier AC's picture
Javier AC
29/08/2018 15:58
Mexico
Southampton
9

1. maybe I would talk about topic diferent
2. yes, I would ask the name of the person
3. No, I don´t would ask that question

Lemussss
29/08/2018
MX
16
points

It´s a very fun way to learn english.


Lemussss
29/08/2018 15:57
Mexico
Liverpool
16

It´s a very fun way to learn english.

Emmack300917
29/08/2018
MX
7
points

Normally in my country we talk about the results of football although in Dev's situation I would only follow the flow to the conversation without saying personal information, I would not ask if someone is married to the contrary, I would only ask their name and mood


Emmack300917
29/08/2018 15:57
Mexico
Manchester United
7

Normally in my country we talk about the results of football although in Dev's situation I would only follow the flow to the conversation without saying personal information, I would not ask if someone is married to the contrary, I would only ask their name and mood

germs_lock
29/08/2018
MX
8
points

gooooood


germs_lock
29/08/2018 15:56
Mexico
Manchester United
8

gooooood

urielgarfias5
29/08/2018
MX
11
points

I would remain silent
yes, I would ask your name
no
What like? or, where do you live?


urielgarfias5
29/08/2018 15:55
Mexico
Manchester City
11

I would remain silent
yes, I would ask your name
no
What like? or, where do you live?

Jocelyn R16's picture
Jocelyn R16
29/08/2018
MX
3
points

In my opinion I would try to start a conversation with someone who I don't know but I don't ask the person's name because it would take like a personal question even you don't want to show in that way.


Jocelyn R16's picture
Jocelyn R16
29/08/2018 15:55
Mexico
Manchester United
3

In my opinion I would try to start a conversation with someone who I don't know but I don't ask the person's name because it would take like a personal question even you don't want to show in that way.

LauraCR
29/08/2018
MX
14
points

I think that first ask How are you? or the name for break the ice, i don't want the other person are bored.
No, this is the personal question and not is confortable for the other people
In Mexico, people always talk about family, school, parties, etc.


LauraCR
29/08/2018 15:55
Mexico
Chelsea
14

I think that first ask How are you? or the name for break the ice, i don't want the other person are bored.
No, this is the personal question and not is confortable for the other people
In Mexico, people always talk about family, school, parties, etc.

LauraCR
29/08/2018
MX
14
points

I think that first ask How are you? or the name for break the ice, i don't want the other person are bored.
No, this is the personal question and not is confortable for the other people
In Mexico, people always talk about family, school, parties, etc.


LauraCR
29/08/2018 15:54
Mexico
Chelsea
14

I think that first ask How are you? or the name for break the ice, i don't want the other person are bored.
No, this is the personal question and not is confortable for the other people
In Mexico, people always talk about family, school, parties, etc.

Ulises
29/08/2018
MX
7
points

not very difficult


Ulises
29/08/2018 15:53
Mexico
Leicester City
7

not very difficult

Miguel Herrera
29/08/2018
MX
6
points

1.yes, as long as it is not inappropriate

2. the truth is not

3. the time is requested.


Miguel Herrera
29/08/2018 15:53
Mexico
Manchester City
6

1.yes, as long as it is not inappropriate

2. the truth is not

3. the time is requested.

JorgeBray
29/08/2018
MX
14
points

easy


JorgeBray
29/08/2018 15:53
Mexico
Arsenal
14

easy

Felipe P
29/08/2018
MX
7
points

I would talk and say my name
No, I woldn´t
Soccer, food,parties


Felipe P
29/08/2018 15:49
Mexico
Leicester City
7

I would talk and say my name
No, I woldn´t
Soccer, food,parties

Rabara's picture
Rabara
29/08/2018
MX
7
points

idk, but I agree, it was very fun to answer and... I think this can help me to "break the ice" with my crush (?? actually I don´t have one), but what can I say? >:v is too much for me :'v (??), btw... MikaYuu es cannon bro


Rabara's picture
Rabara
29/08/2018 15:49
Mexico
Crystal Palace
7

idk, but I agree, it was very fun to answer and... I think this can help me to "break the ice" with my crush (?? actually I don´t have one), but what can I say? >:v is too much for me :'v (??), btw... MikaYuu es cannon bro

Vegetta777
29/08/2018
MX
9
points

Me pueden pasar las respuestas, por favor?


Vegetta777
29/08/2018 15:44
Mexico
Liverpool
9

Me pueden pasar las respuestas, por favor?

Reina Leonel
28/08/2018
MX
6
points

I think that first you can break the ice with a casual question like "What do you weather prefer?" or maybe "Where is the doctor? " or only start with "Hi, the doctor arrive late" and then ask for your the last holidays or your favorite sport and if you have trust you can ask your name.


Reina Leonel
28/08/2018 18:09
Mexico
Manchester United
6

I think that first you can break the ice with a casual question like "What do you weather prefer?" or maybe "Where is the doctor? " or only start with "Hi, the doctor arrive late" and then ask for your the last holidays or your favorite sport and if you have trust you can ask your name.

javiort17
28/08/2018
MX
6
points

Well, I would not ask him why he would be very extroverted because she is wrong.

No, because the question is very personal for the other person.

sports like football or basketball


javiort17
28/08/2018 18:09
Mexico
Manchester United
6

Well, I would not ask him why he would be very extroverted because she is wrong.

No, because the question is very personal for the other person.

sports like football or basketball

pablomorales_2001
28/08/2018
MX
8
points

*I'd rather stay silent, I am not very good talking with new people, although if someone me starts talking I continued the conversation

*I do not think that it is very suitable and comfortable to talk about whether the person is married or unmarried


pablomorales_2001
28/08/2018 18:07
Mexico
Chelsea
8

*I'd rather stay silent, I am not very good talking with new people, although if someone me starts talking I continued the conversation

*I do not think that it is very suitable and comfortable to talk about whether the person is married or unmarried

Abraham015's picture
Abraham015
28/08/2018
MX
7
points

In my opinion I would try to start a conversation with someone who I don't know but I don't ask the person's name because it would take like a personal question even you don't want to show in that way.
For other way, I would not ask to someone a personalquestion like if she is married, because as happened in the video, it would take it like a rude question.
The weather it is a common question in Mexico such as the kind of music you like, your favorite subject or something like that.


Abraham015's picture
Abraham015
28/08/2018 18:07
Mexico
Chelsea
7

In my opinion I would try to start a conversation with someone who I don't know but I don't ask the person's name because it would take like a personal question even you don't want to show in that way.
For other way, I would not ask to someone a personalquestion like if she is married, because as happened in the video, it would take it like a rude question.
The weather it is a common question in Mexico such as the kind of music you like, your favorite subject or something like that.

esme0406's picture
esme0406
28/08/2018
MX
5
points

I would not remain silent I would find another topic that was not offensive to Ana.
I would not ask if he is married maybe if the conversation would get longer. In my country, talk about any topic


esme0406's picture
esme0406
28/08/2018 18:04
Mexico
AFC Bournemouth
5

I would not remain silent I would find another topic that was not offensive to Ana.
I would not ask if he is married maybe if the conversation would get longer. In my country, talk about any topic

dariana
28/08/2018
MX
6
points

1-no because it would be very uncomfortable. The best thing to do is start by asking "you like soccer"
2-no because that is very personal
3-they talk about football, food and news


dariana
28/08/2018 18:04
Mexico
Manchester United
6

1-no because it would be very uncomfortable. The best thing to do is start by asking "you like soccer"
2-no because that is very personal
3-they talk about football, food and news

Leaderboard

Top Scorers
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1mobeckham6371
2Alex_from_Ukraine6155
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8aragorn19863557
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Country ranking
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1Colombia71655
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3Serbia27078
4Spain24219
5Brazil21487
6Albania20577
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Club ranking
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1Manchester United129828
2Liverpool97943
3Chelsea81625
4Arsenal77632
5Manchester City48495
6Tottenham Hotspur14171
7Leicester City12430
8Newcastle United9872
9Leeds United5930
10West Ham United5319

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.