Small Talk With Americans

Do you avoid small talk because you worry you will make mistakes and broach incorrect topics?
Or, maybe you aren't sure how to talk about unknown topics like American sports (football, baseball)?
Do you wonder how long small talk should be or how to transition from small talk to business talk?

This seminar will help you gain confidence in making small talk with Americans in a culturally competent way in a range business settings, from face to face meetings, to virtual meetings, conferences, and email interactions.

Get real time feedback from an American trainer conversant in both American and Indian ways!

Audience Profile

Onsite Small Talk Session at UST Global.

Who attends this training? Any non-American working on virtual teams or expats on international assignment in US business environments.

Over 500 professionals from companies such as Allianz, Arbitron, CCS Technologies, EY, Microsoft, and UST Global have attended versions of this training.

Job Titles of Participants Include

Business Analyst Project Lead Software Architect
Business Developer Project Manager Sr. Assoc. Vice President
Consultant QA Engineer Team Lead
Delivery Manager Risk Analyst Tech Manager
Human Resources Staff Senior Software Developer Technology Specialist
Infrastructure Specialist Software Engineer Test Manager


  • Express Session: 4.5 hours or 1/2 working day
  • Home Run Session: 8 hours or 1 working day

* Session and module length varies based on number of participants and number of chosen modules.

Number of Participants

For ideal outcomes 16-20 participants in a session is recommended.
For groups over 20, several options are available, including:

  • Breaking up the group into smaller groups
  • Extra per person payment (for groups over 25, note activities are abbreviated in many cases due to lack of time)

Best results are seen in smaller teams, in group work over a period of time.

Mode of Delivery

  • Classroom: Face-to-face, instructor led
  • Online: For groups smaller than 5, classes can be delivered online (Skype, Google Hangouts, WebEx, your company virtual platform).
  • Blended: Training delivered in a classroom is mixed with online follow up via the Authentic Journeys Aspire Online classroom materials, quizzes, and supplementary materials. Online follow up could also include virtual role plays or demos.
  • Individual Corporate Coaching: Select individuals or groups smaller than 5 can meet live with Jennifer Kumar via phone or VOIP methods over a period of days or weeks.

Syllabus Overview:
Section 1: Making a Memorable First Impression
First interactions in face-to-face, virtual and email settings with Americans. We learn and practice how to:

Section 2: Small Talk Dos and Don'ts
Comparing acceptable and unacceptable topics

Section 3: US Holidays and Small Talk

Section 4: Role Play – Small Talk in Business Meetings

Options/ Customizations

Small Talk at Work: USA vs. India

Syllabus customizations: Customizations based on client details.
Role plays/Case Study: Customizations added upon request

Related Training Programs:

Videos or audios: Can be made of the role plays for sharing within the team.

Online classroom: Available to share classroom materials after the training is over.

Certificates: Available upon request.

Small Talk Newsletter: Subscription to the Small Talk Newsletter – which helps non-American professionals learn about and make small talk about American Holidays.


"Small talk is a technique of talking, a way to make contact with people, and the glue that creates and maintains contact with colleagues and business partners. I would like to thank Jennifer as she guided me to improve this technique. I did not understand the importance of small talk. I now realize that making small talk has helped me to improve relationships with colleagues and clients. When I make small talk, it makes the meeting come alive. I can feel the difference. It really helps."
Keyur Raval, SAP B1 Consultant

"My US client did not make small talk, so I did not think it would make a difference if I did. Jennifer suggested me to try a few tips, and if they did not work, I could stop. I was so shocked that after trying her tips for just a few short weeks, interactions with the client became more friendlyfriendlier. We got to learn a little about each other beyond work, which helped us relate to each other better."
Financial Analyst, Bangalore

"We Indians tend to stick to our own groups in the US. We either talk to other Indians in English or other Keralites in Malayalam. We don't even realize we don't include Americans. Jennifer's training helped me understand the importance of inclusion both in spoken English and body language. This helps me and my team mates feel more included in interactions with the client onsite."
Engineer with 20 plus years experience

"When we talk to the client, we don't want to appear like we don't know anything. That's why most of us shy away from small talk. Jennifer helped my team and I understand that not knowing is ok. We can ask questions. We can get to know our client. This is how relationships work in India, too. She made it seem normal and natural. We all related to it. Now being stuck with my client in a rush-hour traffic jam is not as scary as it used to be!"
UST Global Participant

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