Engaging in “small talk” is one the most important
soft skills in Canada and the US.

Small talk is means of establish and connection and giving strangers a sense that you are likeable. If small talk is new for you, it is critical that you practice and become somewhat comfortable with engaging in casual conversation with strangers.

The following scripts were developed specifically for internationally trained professions (ITPs), with the aim of enhancing ones capacity for small talk, especially in networking events. The first scenario practices introducing oneself to strangers at a networking event and is meant to be done in pairs. If networking is also new to you, then it is easier to do this with a partner. The second scenario is meant to help ITPs become more comfortable in engaging in small talk in random situations, such as a line-up at the grocery store.

Small Talk Script

Working in groups of threes or fives, use the following script for your small talk role play:

SCENARIO 1: IN THE NETWORKING EVENT

Person A = You
Person B = A local business person you don't know.
Person C = An internationally trained professional you do know.

You are at a networking event. While you are mingling there is a potential employer, Person B, that you would like to make a connection with. You need to break the ice, and get them talking about themselves as soon as possible. And you also need to introduce Person C to Person B. 

A: Hi. Long day, huh?

B: <response>

A: I really appreciate that you've made the time to be here. By the way, my name is <Person A> (put out your hand)

B: Hi <Person A>. My name is <Person B>

A: I'm glad you're here, <Person B>.

(Choose one of the following questions)

a. So, how are you connected to <name of host, or name of host organization>?
b. Have you been to these networking events before?
c. So, what's been keeping you busy these days?
d. Other?

B: <response>

A: You said that <repeat their answer to the question>. Is that right?

B: Yes, that's right.

A: Sorry, how do you say your name again? (Start writing down their name)

I'm going to write this down, because I meet so many people it's hard to keep track.

B: (repeats their name)

A: Oh, have you met <Person C>?

He/She/They is a <share connection to host or host organization>. (Turn to Person C)

<Person C> This is <Person B>.

C: Nice to meet you, <Person B>.

A: Hey, it was really good chatting with you.

(Optional: If you want to follow-up with them)

I'd love to get your advice on how I might better connect with this industry.

Is there some way I can connect with you? Maybe on LinkedIN?

B: (Will likely give their business card)

A: Thanks. I don't want to take up all your time.

Nice to meet you. Maybe I'll bump into you later (OR: I'll be in touch).

Bye.

B: Bye.

C: Bye.

Switch roles and repeat three times.

SCENARIO 2: IN THE LINE-UP AT THE GROCERY

Person A = You
Person B = Someone you don't know.

You are at a local grocery store, waiting in line to pay.

A: Wow. It's really busy today.

(Choose one of the following questions)

a. Is it always this busy?
b. Looks like you got a lot done today.
c. I always pick the wrong line-up.
d. Others?

B: <response>

A: Oh sorry, my name is <insert name>? I'm in new to Surrey.

B: Hi <Person A>. My name is <Person B>

A: <Repeat Person B's name> Did I get that right?

B: Yes, ...

A: Nice to meet you. Have you lived in Surrey long?

B: Yes, I grew up nearby.

A: Oh, It's my turn. Have a nice day.

B: Thanks. You too.

A: Nice to meet you. Maybe I'll bump into you in line again.

B: Bye.

Switch roles and repeat three times.