Student Dilemmas - How To Do The Hardest Thing When Making Small Talk In English With Clients - The English Training Company

Student Dilemmas – How To Do The Hardest Thing When Making Small Talk In English With Clients


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Business English Student Dilemmas

— Problem – how to do the hardest thing when making small talk in English with clients — 


What’s the hardest thing to do when making small talk in English with clients? For many professionals this is “breaking the ice” known as starting a conversation and that’s also true for a lot of native English speakers too.

When starting a conversation with someone we don’t know we use the expression in English, “breaking the ice”.

During our Business English courses we always ask professionals about their Business English challenges.  And for Small Talk we ask “what is your main challenge when making Small Talk in English?”

Here is one of our students’ problems:

The hardest thing is to start a conversation. After you start, you always find a way to make yourself understood.” (J. Marcos – Financial Controller).



‘ARE’ is a quick communication tool we give to our students to start a conversation in English, which really helps them.

ARE Example:

Imagine you are having a business lunch with a colleague or client in English:

 Anchor (you) -“The seafood menu looks delicious.”

 (other person)- “I like seafood but I don’t know a lot about it.”

Reveal (you) – “I really like seafood and the best seafood in Spain is from Galicia. It’s a lovely green region in the northwest of Spain and is also good for walking.”

(other person) – “Yes I love the outdoors and going walking in the countryside.”

Encourage (you) – “Yes me too, I did the ‘Camino de Santiago’ last year, it’s one of Europe’s most popular walking routes (comment). Where are the best places to go walking near San Francisco?” 



The student…

  • feels more confident with small talk by using the ARE technique.
  • feels more confident “breaking the ice” and starting making small talk in English.
  • feels more relaxed making small talk in English.
  • realised that the hardest thing was starting and the best way to overcome that fear was to practice starting conversations.
  • has a short list of 5 small talk topics which they feel comfortable using.


Do you have a similar Business English dilemma you’d like us to help you with?  Get in contact with us via email or the contact us page. 


I hope this helps you in your professional career! Christopher Wright



The English Training Company – helping companies and professionals to become Advanced Business English Speakers.


Some extra help with Small Talk in English:

— try (FREE) Small Talk in English – 150 phrases in English


This post was written by Christopher Wright and published on 29th October 2018 under the categories: Fluency, Confidence and Motivation, Small Talk In English Tips, Speaking In English Tips
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