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Smalltalk auf Englisch - Wenn die peinliche Stille droht

Schlagwörter: Smalltalk auf Englisch, Smalltalk Englisch, Kompliment Englisch, Kompliment auf Englisch, Englisch Kompliment

The bookstore is filled with books on how to make small talk, but in the end, small talk is probably as far away from a science as you’ll ever get. Small talk is an art. The good news here is that you don’t need to be a small-talk Picasso to make a friendly impression and build relationships. A paint-by-number approach is good enough.

Armed with the following, any small talk effort you choose to make is sure to pay off:


  • an open, friendly, relaxed way of speaking.
    No one enjoys speaking with someone who’s as stiff as a board.


  • fearlessness. Small talk leaves no room for feeling inferior about yourself, wondering who would want to speak with little old you or standing in the corner of the room like a wallflower. Small talk in fact has nothing to do with you. Your task is to get the other person talking about himself – as much as possible.


  • the right material. Ah, yes, here’s where it gets tricky. What should you talk about? What do you talk about when you feel an awkward silence looming? Here’s the material to focus on:

The right stuff

You don’t need to be a walking encyclopedia to be good at small talk. Stick to the following areas:

  • The person you’re talking to. Find out what the other person really likes and is enthusiastic about. This usually has nothing to do with work. Dale Carnegie said: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Listen for interests that might be mentioned or even hinted at. Hone in on what you’ve heard right away.


  • Your surroundings. If you’re in a location where personal objects are displayed, ask about something there you find interesting: something on the wall, certain books on the shelf, a turtle in an aquarium. If you’re in a neutral location like a conference centre, ask what the other person knows about the city where it’s located. Try to find any aspect of your surroundings that could have a personal connection.


  • The news. Keep your eye on the inter- national news or read up on interesting past events. Select topics that are light or funny or interesting – stick to things you could both laugh about. Check out Digg ( http://digg.com/news ) to find out what news is the hottest. Avoid material about death, misery, politics and religion.

Raw material

Here are a few little-known incidents you may be able to use at some point:

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines was once the sixthlargest airline in the world, but it had never really recovered from the damage done to the airline industry on 11 September, 2001. In 2005, the airline filed for bankruptcy protection and over the next year laid off thousands of workers. Included with the paperwork each terminated employee received was a helpful little four-pager named “Handling a Financial Setback: 101 Ways to Save Money”. Most of the items on this list were common sense: turn your thermostat down, shop for a less expensive place to live, replace 100 watt bulbs with 60 watt, go to museums on free days, buy used clothing, bicycle to work and the like. Some advice, however, was insulting:

  • Do your own nails.

  • Ask your doctor for samples of drugs he prescribes.

  • Borrow a dress for a big night out. Best of all was #46:

  • Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.

Isn’t it nice to know that when you’re between a rock and a hard place, even your ex-employer is happy to lend a helping hand? ( Northwest later merged with Delta to form the largest airline in the world ).

Washington State

Agricultural officials from the State of Washington in the US Pacific Northwest were touring China. At every stop they handed out green baseball caps to men. Little did they know that in many parts of China, tradition holds that if you give a man a green hat, it means you have had sex with his wife. Thus if you wear a green hat, it means your wife has cheated on you. That certainly explains why the men refused to wear the hats and why the women were giggling hysterically. Oops.

Family film-going pleasure

In 2007, a movie theatre in New York forgot to update its movie directory after moving films between screens. Now imagine this scene: happy families settling into their seats, anxiously awaiting the start of the latest family film “The Last Mimzy”. Imagine their shock at being treated instead to the opening scene of “The Hills Have Eyes 2”: a chained woman giving birth to a cannibalistic mutant. Oops.

Customer feedback appreciated

With the iPhone, iPad and iTunes, Apple seems like the company that knows how to give its customers what they really want. Imagine the disappointment experienced by 9-year-old Shea O’Gorman, who emailed CEO Steve Jobs directly with suggestions for improving her iPod Nano, when she received a threatening letter from Apple attorneys stating that the company does not accept unsolicited ideas and warned her not to send any further suggestions. Oops.

Schlagwörter: Smalltalk auf Englisch, Smalltalk Englisch, Kompliment Englisch, Kompliment auf Englisch, Englisch Kompliment

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