Importance of Small Talk

There was a time when keeping students quiet was a challenge because all they wanted to do was talk! Now, not so much! Sadly, many students want to avoid talking to you, their peers or anyone else at all costs. Importance of Small Talk is a great lesson to use with students at the beginning of the school year, new semester or even as part of a communication unit. Not only does this lesson give insight on the importance of small talk, but it encourages small talk among students and helps build relationships as they get to know each other! Continue reading to learn more…


  • Bell Ringer: What is small talk? Define or explain in your own words.
  • Show students this video titled, Small Talk.  Ask students: Is this small talk? Why or why not?
  • Play the “Put a Finger Down” activity to correspond with actions associated with being a talker or non-talker. Here are the directions to the activity if you are unfamiliar with it.
  • Discuss: For those of you who like to make small talk with people, ask why they enjoy it. For those of you who dislike making small talk with people, are there any additional reasons than those shared on the intro activity?
  • Optional Discussion: What are some causes for small talk becoming obsolete? (reliance on electronics, too much time alone, not eating meals together, no role models to see it in action, texting occurs in place of a phone call, online orders and scheduling vs phone calls, uncomfortable sharing in person (verbally), but willing to share anything on social media). Here is a great article and infographic titled “Young Americans Lack Key Social Skills, Avoid the Phone, and Fear Small Talk” on the topic if you wish to use it.



  • Explain that like it or not, small talk is important and can yield big benefits. According to Forbes, there are four. Show the Google Slide deck to students and ask them to individually write down examples for each benefit.  Once they have their lists completed, have them turn to their neighbor and share ideas before sharing as a whole class. I have some listed just in case they need additional examples. This “think-pair-share” activity actually allows students to practice “small talk” with their peers.
  • Optional Video Activity: View the Ted Ed: Small Talk, Big Connections and keep a running list of the benefits he gained and shared from this experience. Be prepared to discuss as a class.
  • To encourage and practice small talk along with a way for students to get to know each other better, place them in small groups and play the TPT freebie titled, Roll it Get to Know You Game.  If time permits, switch up the groups every so often so more students get to know each other.


Photo by saeed karimi on Unsplash

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