Small Talk « Catalyst Communication

By: Catalyst Communication  09-12-2011

Small Talk « Catalyst Communication


A Chinese speaking employee was feeling timid and shy about her English. As she worked mainly with her computer at work and spoke Chinese at home, she had limited opportunities to practice the language and gain confidence. She didn’t speak up at meetings, rarely talked to co-workers and felt nervous talking to her manager.

Action #1

Her teacher and her coach taught her how to make small talk. Although small talk is not normally considered “Business English” is vitally important in the Business world. It’s how we get to know each other, make contacts, network, etc. It’s also an important way for ESL speakers to get practice with English. People who don’t make small talk are often perceived as arrogant or uninterested in others.

Action #2

This employee was still feeling shy about using what she had learned in the classroom. She and her coach explored the value of small talk and her motivation in improving her language. Her coach challenged her to have two small talk conversations a day — one with a stranger and one with a colleague at work. She took on the challenge and came back very proud of herself the next week having fulfilled the challenge — in one case having a 30-minute conversation with a fellow commuter.


This employee now feels much more confident about her ability to speak English. She now regularly and confidently speaks up in meetings and shares her valuable insights. Recently, she saved the company a day’s work by contributing her expertise. If she hadn’t had this opportunity to develop her confidence, she might not have spoken up.

Other products and services from Catalyst Communication


Classes « Catalyst Communication

Critical grammatical areas, such as how to ask questions clearly, use tense & time reference accurately, use he/she appropriately and express conditions effectively, are explained and practised. This course focuses on key pronunciation issues that have the greatest impact on listener understanding, such as, sounds, intonation, sentence rhythm, and stress.


Focus « Catalyst Communication

They get many opportunities speak and to develop the confidence they need to take their English out into the real world. Many learners have acceptable grammar, but they don’t know how to use the language in the real world. Many learners are able to cope in daily life, but have a hard time using English persuasively. These are some of the courses participants can take with Catalyst Communication. Speaking Strategies in the Real World.


Diversity Coaching « Catalyst Communication

These two workshops will address what management can do to support the language and cultural learning that these employees need to undergo in order to be even more effective contributors to their workplace. We will investigate how small changes in how managers communicate information can lead to significant increases in comprehension and effectiveness.


Language Coaching « Catalyst Communication

Language Coaching is designed for people who speak English as a Second Language and want to hone their language, communication and cultural knowledge in order to become even more effective contributors to their organization. Regular English Language training teaches effective communication skills, however, there is no follow-up to see if people are transferring the knowledge from the classroom into real life situations.


Options « Catalyst Communication

The individual coaching also allows clients to explore and improve larger communication issues that aren’t specifically ESL issues, such as the ability to say no, or the ability to effectively work with colleagues or direct reports. Clients can benefit from a group environment in a few ways: they can learn from each other, they can practice with each other, and they can support each other outside of class.