“So – what are your plans for New Year’s?”
One of my clients’ biggest headaches, is the art of Small Talk with English speakers.
In Israeli business culture, we often tend to head straight for the “tachlis” (main point) of the conversation – which suits Israel’s “dugri” (straight-talking / direct) world.
Your English-speaking clients and investors, on the other hand, come from a less “dugri” world, and will often expect some small talk before heading to the point of the call.
The good news here, is that most people seem to be very happy to talk about themselves – which can take some of the pressure off you.
Ask them questions – then sit back and listen.
Some of the most popular Small Talk topics for English speakers, are:
Just remember not to rush to Question #2 on your Small Talk list – really listen, and ask additional questions to show your interest and engagement:
You: “Hi there Rob, how was your weekend?”
Rob: “Hi, I had a really busy one, actually.. shopping for Christmas with my kids.”
You: “Oh boy.. were there a lot of crowds in the malls?”
..and so on.
Another great (and relevant-right-now) Small Talk Opener –
“The weather in the States has been terrible – were you able to get together with family or friends over Christmas?”
In short – don’t underestimate the power of Small Talk with your English-speaking business partners.
It helps build a warm business relationship, and can really pay off when the time comes to “talk turkey” (discuss something honestly and directly).
Speaking of which, where did you spend Thanksgiving..?