Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

How Small Talk Saved a Life

Many English learners don't want to try making small talk because they are afraid that they will make mistakes, that people will laugh at them, or that they will be "uncomfortable." 

The truth is you WILL  make mistakes and you WILL be uncomfortable when you go out and practice, but THAT'S O.K.

You can't learn unless you make mistakes and unless you are uncomfortable. That's what learning is all about.

Learning = being uncomfortable  

Have you ever learned how to ride a bicycle,  how to swim, how to drive, how to play the piano well without making mistakes, or without being "uncomfortable."  I don't think so.

When you are trying to improve your English listening and speaking, being too comfortable means you are probably not learning anything new. You are simply staying at the same level - your "comfort level."

That's fine if you don't want to get better.  But, if you want to make English speaking friends,  get into a good English university or find a good job where strong English communication skills are required, you need to be prepared to be uncomfortable and to make mistakes.

The Power of Small Talk 

It IS very important to learn how to make small talk. Learning how to become comfortable while you do it, will help you in many social, educational and business situations in the future.  It will definitely help you make new friends. It might even help you save a life. 

 Making small talk is the first and most important step in making new friends. Those few seconds or minutes of "chit chat"  are when you break the ice in order to get a conversation going. 

Sometimes that one or two minute conversation can simply be that: a pleasant exchange. Other times it can be the beginnings of a beautiful friendship. 

Watch the following video to get an idea about the difference small talk can make in a person's life.

I will be writing more posts on the "art of making small talk, but for now try 
 Improve Your Small Talk: Review 2012


Here are a few questions to think about.  

As an English instructor, I would greatly appreciate your comments and feedback on this video and any of the questions below. .

  • What is YOUR reaction to this story? 
  •  Has it convinced you to try and practice ,making small talk? 
  • Do you think it is important to learn how to make small talk? Why?
  •   What are the advantages of knowing how to do it?  What are the disadvantages? 
  •  What kind of experiences have you had making small talk with strangers? Has it led to anything more? 

  •  You do not need to be a member of this site to leave a comment. 
  • To add a comment, click on the comment button below - even if it says 0 comments. That is how you open the comment box. 

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  1. Wow, who knew such a small talk could save somewhen's life! I saw video 14 times allreddy. I thinking perfect now my Englishy is, or at least little bit more. Tenk you very mush Meshelle, very tryly yours, Borat

  2. i really love this blog, many interesting 'how to' that could read all night
    learning english here is much better than a class though :)

  3. Nice one. People are becoming aware of this kind of topic and I would like to thank the author for writing this kind of article for the benefit of people.
    Online dictionary


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