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Smalltalk auf Englisch - Und wie geht's der Familie?

Schlagwörter: Smalltalk auf Englisch Familie, Smalltalk englisch Familie, englischer Small-Talk Familie, Smalltalk Family, Family Small Talk Enlgisch

Look anywhere on the Internet for information about how to make small talk and you?ll often find friendly advice stating that questions about family are easy, polite and always well-received.

Such information is naive at best and dangerous at worst. Here's why:

  • In many cultures, discussions about family have no place in a business context.


  • Divorce, death, protracted illness and a long list of other unpleasant family situations are a reality for many people, who - for understandable reasons - may be sensitive about being asked family questions.


  • The assumption of a cultural "norm" may be insulting to those who choose to lead their lives in other ways. Examples include those who never want to be married, those involved in same-sex marriages or those who are atheistic.


  • Those who have been long and unsuccessfully searching for their ultimate partner or trying to have children may feel slightly attacked when asked about their family.

Our advice: making small talk about family with business colleagues should be reserved for conversations with people you have come to know better over time, and who have first offered you information about their family in some way. In this case, asking about someone's family shows that you remember what they have said and that you care about them as a person. In this case, making small talk about family is a powerful way to strengthen relationships.


Family small talk rules

Rule Number One
If you don't know anything about your conversation partner's family status, don't pry. Stick to other small-talk subjects. However, you have every right to make statements about your family. If your conversation partner picks up the thread, you can continue with Rule Number Two.

Here are a few examples:

(At a tradeshow. You say:) Yes, well, the travel was a bit hairy. You see, I brought my family along. My wife and our two small children are at the hotel now. We'll be doing the tourist thing over the weekend.

(When asked about your holiday. You say:) It was great! My husband and I sent our teenage sons to visit their grandmother and we spent the whole weekend skiing in Italy.


Following such a statement, your conversation partner may ask you Rule Number Two questions that keep the ball rolling.

Rule Number Two
If your conversation partner has just alluded to something about his or her family, feel free to make small talk on the mentioned area, and feel free to continue expanding the discussion as far as your conversation partner opens up. If your partner has mentioned his family in the past, it's okay to follow up with questions now, but only if you know him fairly well - a death or illness could make such questions unwelcome.


Useful Phrases

Last time we spoke, ...

... you mentioned that your wife ...

... you mentioned that your children ...

How has that been going?

And how old are your children?

How did you meet your husband?

How did you and your family spend the holidays?

Didn't you say your son was graduating this year?


(If it has been mentioned that a husband or wife has returned from a business trip) What does he/she do? Where does he/she work ?

(You know the person well) And how is your family doing?

(You spoke about the kids last time) And how are your children?

(After a statement that a child has started going to school and enjoys it) That's great! What's his favourite subject so far?

Going in this direction, the questions you need to ask are not difficult. Simply use what your conversation partner has just said - including the words he has used - to ask for more information. Example:

Yes, I had a nice summer holiday, thanks for asking. I spent a week in London, where my daughter was graduating from university. You could ask:

Which university did your daughter graduate from?

What did your daughter study?


But not:

And did your wife enjoy the trip as well?

Schlagwörter: Smalltalk auf Englisch Familie, Smalltalk englisch Familie, englischer Small-Talk Familie, Smalltalk Family, Family Small Talk Enlgisch

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