The ELI likes to partner with other resources on campus to bring our services to the widest possible audience.

On Friday, Feb 8, 2019, we co-hosted an English language conversation hour called “Making small talk in a professional setting” with UChicagoGRAD.

Our conversation hours with UChicagoGRAD focus on career-building skills, and “Making small talk” was no exception.

In North America, one has to be able to hold short conversations with strangers in a variety of settings: during networking events, the opening of a job interview, at the water cooler at work, etc.

There are linguistic tricks to asking questions in order to get responses other than the dreaded “yes” or “no” that can end a conversation before it even begins. We also covered common topics that most North Americans are comfortable discussing, how to incorporate storytelling, how to expand the conversation, and how to close the conversation.

Our attendees got to practice several rounds of extended small talk with each other, and they became more and more confident as conversation hour continued. Jo from UChicagoGRAD and Josh from the ELI were on hand to offer advice and be additional speaking partners when needed.

Our next collaboration with UChicagoGRAD is scheduled for Friday, May 10. Join our listserv to receive updates and information on how to register.