How to connect with Americans~Make friendly small talk
American culture puts great value on friendly small talk.
So if your goal is to build a strong rapport with your colleagues and clients, you should start your interactions with a friendly greeting or question.
Starting an interaction with friendly small talk will let your colleagues and clients know that you’re interested in them.
They’ll feel like you care about them as people, not just business associates.
Here are four examples of friendly small talk. No big deal, right?
Deliver small talk with a friendly style
However, the way you deliver small talk that makes all the difference. You want to make sure that your tone is friendly and engaging.
Not flat and uninterested.
- How was your weekend, David?⤵
- Good morning Steven, it’s nice to see you.⤵
- Thanks for meeting me this morning, Susan.⤵
- Hi Jason, are you available to talk today?⤴
Did you hear how these greetings sounded warm and friendly?
I used pitch emphasis on the important words.
I used different types of intonation.
It’s how you say it
You’ve probably heard this saying:
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
And when it comes to sounding friendly and engaging in American English, nothing could be more true.
Awareness and practice
Now that you’re aware of the importance of pitch emphasis and intonation, practice these small talk examples using as much enthusiasm as you can.
You may feel silly, but trust me, American listeners will like it.
Try to use peoples’ names when you greet them.
People will find you more personable if you speak like this.
Mastering small talk on NBC News
Here’s a link to an interesting story on the power of small talk on NBC News. The story includes a formula you can use to develop your small talk skills.
About the author
Susan Ryan is an accent reduction coach. Contact her with your questions about clear American speech.