Spanish for Professional Purposes...

...for teachers and students who see the need for Spanish language and Hispanic cultures knowledge in professional contexts.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Master Small Talk in Spanish

University Spanish courses often cover ‘academic’ topics, not real world small talk. 

Even if you take conversation courses you might not ever learn how to strike up a conversation in a conference room, break room or at a party. 

Here are 10 key phrases in Spanish to smooth over those awkward social moments.
Do this…
Here’s how:

Introduce yourself and identify yourself and what you do.
-Buenas tardes. Soy Heather Smith estudio economía en la Universidad.
-Hola. Me llamo Sam Barber y soy el asistente de María Gomez.
Say ‘nice to meet you’ when introduced to someone.
Mucho gusto.             
Es un placer.
Interrupt politely. If you are interrupting someone or are about to enter their office or other personal space. Or when you need to say ‘excuse me’ to take leave of a conversation.

Con permiso.
Recognize different ways to say ‘how are you?’ In your class you learn ¿Cómo estás? but don’t be surprised by ¿Qué tal?, ¿Qué onda? ¿Qué hay? ¿Qué hubo?
Appropriate answers are the same as if you had been asked ¿Cómo está?:
Muy bien, ¿y Ud.?                              
Bien, gracias. ¿y Ud.?
Accept a compliment.  If someone compliments you (or your beautiful Spanish), it’s best to be humble.

Gracias. Ud. es muy amable.
Network based on people you know in common.
¿Cómo conoce Ud. a _(person in common)__?
Get people talking about themselves and their lives, starting with what they do for a living.

¿A qué se dedica Ud.?

Comment on things around you, such as weather or other circumstances.
¡Qué ____! ¿no?: ¡Qué frío! ¿no?, ¡Qué interestante! ¿no?, ¡Qué lío! ¿no?

Eating requires special respect.
Before beginning to eat anything when you are with other people: ¡Buen provecho!
Praise the food: Está rico/a., Está bueno/a.
Take leave with more than just ‘Adiós.’
Que le vaya bien.       
Que lo pase bien.       
Que pase un buen fin de semana.

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