46 Responses

  1. Good morning Christina,

    I’ve been listening your courses for a few months now and I didn’t get the chance to say thank you !

    Your videos are really helpful, clear and easy to understand which is exactly what I was looking for.

    As several people, I need to get more confident when speaking english even if I live abroad so in good conditions to practice my English very often.

    See below some points I need to work on :

    – in or on : sometimes I don’t know which one to use. For example while a phone conversation…

    – job interviews : point of view about something. I always say ” it was interesting…” Because I don’t have enough vocabulary

    – tenses : when I tell a story about the past. I never know if I have to use the past perfect, past continuous…

    Thank you very much and have a nice day

    Regards

    Sarah, French watching you from Dubai 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah! Wow, you’re in Dubai! That sounds exciting!

      Thanks for the compliments and I’m so happy that you find the videos helpful and clear! That’s my aim 🙂 You’re right that by living abroad, you have lots of opportunities to practice! And the more you practice, the easier it becomes, and the more confident you become. But I think that “just” practicing is not enough if you want to build your confidence. You really have to analyze the situations where you make small talk and ask yourself “What could I have done better?” and then try to implement your observation next time.

      Just to give you an example: I know that in French, it’s difficult for me to respond quickly to jokes and little humorous quips. I often just respond with “Et oui.” Boring! So, now, I try to really improve that little aspect of socializing in French. When I hear a joke on TV or in another conversation, I try to think to myself “If it was me in the conversation, how could I respond better than ‘et oui’?” It’s not easy, but I think that this ability to self-observe and self-analyze is really helpful when trying to improve your skills (in anything, not just language).

      And thanks for your suggestions of topics. Those would each make good topics for the regular SBFG videos, so I’ll add them to my video calendar! Thanks!

  2. Thank you very much Christina for this lesson on small taks, necessary to developp good relation with people.

    the way you explain it is useful to memorize it

    if i may, could you please reduce the level of the music behind your voice, to loud on my computer

    thanks again for all your English lessons

    1. Hi Xavier, I’m glad that you find the video and the expressions useful! Just a few small changes can really make a big difference on the impression you make on people, and the way you develop relations with people.

      And thanks for the advice about the music. It’s good to know and technical suggestions like that really help me. I’ll check what the music level was on this video, and be sure to make it lower on the future videos. All the best!

    1. Thanks Brigitte, yes vocabulary is so important for small talk, and having more vocabulary helps you become more fluent (especially if you have chunks and expressions rather than just individual words!) I hope you’re doing well and still practicing your English 😉

  3. I looove the photo booth style 🙂

    The speech is an easily understood and the ppt very useful!

    It’s true that short easy ways as compliments are so obvious and ‘easy’ to introduce a conversation

    A quick comment about ‘politics’, I’d say it’s the same for french people, in any case, we know that ‘politics’, ‘religion’, should never ben introduced, unless you very well know the person you talk with

    🙂

    1. Thanks so much Axelle! Yes, this way it’s like I’m talking to you, and you can see the slides too! (Plus seeing the mouth movements helps comprehension). I’m so glad that it’s easy to understand and that it’s useful. Yes, I think in most cultures (at least western cultures, I imagine), politics and religion would be off limits in a first conversation. That being said, when we were in the US, this lady that we had never met before, but just happened to be at a table with her at a public event started talking to Romain. She learned that he was French and just, suddenly asked “So what do you think of Trump?”, and since Mississippi is a very conservative state, he (and me too) didn’t know what was the “right” answer (meaning the one that wouldn’t make her stop talking to us, or create a huge argument)! Fortunately, my husband responded with, “I don’t know, what do you think of François Holland?”, and the subject just changed.

  4. English is spoken all around the world and I would like understanding english spoken and to be understood when I speek ( a lot of work will be necessary) and also as a pleasant way to train my memory

    1. Hi Françoise,

      Thanks so much for your comment! You’re right, English is spoken around the world, and between all nationalities, so if you travel, knowing English and being able to make conversation just makes the experience richer! To understand spoken English better, it’s important to train your ear to hear the sounds of English. This means listening to English as much as possible, and preferably at a level where you can understand at least 70-80% of what is said.

      As for speaking, if you feel that people don’t understand you, you may need some specific work on your intonation and word stress, which is a big part of how English is pronounced correctly. I have a few videos on this subject on Speak Better, Feel Great TV, and there is even a special SBFG playlist with pronunciation videos. Check them out and see if they help you get started!

  5. Hi Christina,

    Congratulation for this outstanding video. What a good idea to propose the presentation slide as a take-away.

    You illustrate perfectly all what prevent me for having a fluent discussion with a visitor.

    It’s not obvious to acquire the good reflexes and very often, it’s not a one to one conversation but other colleagues have already asked the questions that you suggest. So, how being original in a such situation?

    Anyway, I continue appreciating the personal teacher whom you are by your intimist approach. Don’t change anything in your style but I thank you to continue changing and improving everything as you do perfectly.

    Kindest Regards

    1. Hi Patrick! What a pleasure to see you here too! And thanks so much for the compliments! I’ve had a lot of help and advice in putting together the technical side of things, so I’m glad that it was good advice 😉

      I’m also glad that this video really hits the spot, as we say, that it really illustrates the things that make it difficult to have a fluent discussion with a visitor. I agree, that it’s not always easy to acquire reflexes, but sometimes, it can be more a question of knowing how to react rather than a lack of vocabulary. Just to take the example from the video, it’s not complicated to say a phrase like “I like your shirt”, but often, we don’t think to make a compliment as a way to start a conversation.

      To be original in a situation where you meet a visitor, you can ask about where the person comes from, ask them if they chose to come to France or if the company imposed it on them (for example, could they have also chosen to go to England, Germany, etc. instead, but they chose France), ask them about their 1st impressions of France, or if things are very different from their country.

      And it makes me really happy that the style suits you! I feel that there are lots of e-learning platforms out there, but that they’re not very personal and friendly. I try to have the advantages of e-learning (you can do it any time, any place) and the feel of face-to-face lessons (like we’re sitting together and I’m explaining something). I think that this personal touch is missing from most e-learning programs, and for me too, it makes the online learning & teaching more human!

      All the best to you, and I hope to see you after video 2!

  6. Thank you very much for your first video, it was very interesting !

    I would like to improve my small talk to feel more comfortable when I meet people.

    Unfortunately, I don’t work with foreign people, so I don’t practice enough.

    I am interesting in improving my English conversation when I travel, because I love travelling, or when I meet foreign people in France.

    Friendly

    1. Hi Brigitte! Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you liked this first video lesson! Yes, it can be difficult to meet and talk to new people, even if it’s in your own language! If it’s in a foreign language, it becomes even more difficult. Even me, in French, I sometimes don’t know what to say! Sometimes the most difficult part is to find something to break the ice, and after that, you can find all sorts of different subjects, but meeting someone new is not always easy, I agree! Thanks for the input! And video 2 is coming on Monday, so keep an eye out for it!

  7. Hi Christina,

    Thank you for the video and the ppt : they are really interesting and helpful. What a great idea !

    I really appreciate your friendly and professional approach, as you are on SBFG TV. (the only little thing that was disturbing (for myself) during the video was the music).

    I also really like the comparaison you made between how French people could have spoken when meeting someone for the first time (very direct questions that can seem to be rude) and what American people would say.

    I think the most important thing to realize when talking with North American people is that we do not have the same culture ! For instance, in France, I would not compliment someone I do not know to start a conversation, but compliments are often used in North America (and when it happens to me, I sometimes feel unconfortable). But it is just a cultural aspect, and it is so important to know it !

    So, I think that what stopping me to feel confortable is mostly the cultural aspect of a conversation (the topics and the way to speak for not beeing too direct/rude).

    Thanks again for your tips, for sharing your knowledge and for your smile 🙂

    1. Hi Blandine,

      Thanks for your comment and your very pertinent insights into how culture plays a role in small talk too!

      You’re absolutely right that it can also make people uncomfortable, for example, if you’re not used to a stranger saying they like your shirt, or your bracelet, or whatever. It can be very destabilizing! I think it’s important to be able to compare cultures and realize the differences, and even if you don’t have to change your ways completely, you can just be aware of them so that you know what is normal and expected.

      For me, when I first moved to France, it was hard to get used to those very direct questions (or sometimes direct opinions about things)–at first I found it very difficult, even depressing sometimes, but after a while, I just accepted that this is how it is in France, and that when you ask someone for an opinion and they say something like “No, I think it’s all wrong and it doesn’t look good” (or something similarly direct), that it’s just the French way of communicating (of course, there are nuances between individuals, not everyone is like this, but globally, the French tend to be more direct, whereas Americans will sandwich the criticism between positive statements). Now, I’m used to it and it doesn’t bother me, but like you pointed out, you just have to know the difference and accept it as it is!

      And thanks for the suggestion about the music. I’ll have to check the other videos and make sure the music is less loud! Very helpful, thanks!

  8. Small talks are so important to break the ice…

    So, many, many thanks for this video, well made and clear (as usual)

    Improve my talking level is my target but launching a conversation is often difficult, fotunately your video gives us some keys.

    It’ll be a pleasure to receice and watch your next lessons.

    See you soon.

    1. Hi Michèle,

      Thanks for your comment and good to see you here too! I hope you’re doing well and still practicing your English. Yes, sometimes the hardest thing is to launch a conversation and just to find something to say! Of course, then, after that you have to be able to talk about it (which is a good way to practice and improve speaking skills–just by practicing).

      One way to do this is to have little conversations with yourself (out loud), on a specific topic (just so you stay focused on a theme). For example, after this video, you can imagine that you’re meeting a visitor and have to welcome them, ask them questions, continue the conversation, etc. You just might want to do this when no one else is around, or they may think that you’ve gone a little crazy! But it’s what I do when I’m home alone and want to practice my German. I just talk to myself out loud! (Shhhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone though 😉

  9. Excellent video! Thanks for the lesson! I learned a lot and I think that I will improve my way to welcome visitors. I hope to see the lesson 2 very soon!!

    1. Hi Carole,

      I’m glad you learned a lot from the lesson and that it will help you improve the way you welcome visitors! And you won’t have to wait long for lesson 2! It’ll be available tomorrow morning! See you then!

  10. Hello Christina,

    I ‘m fan of your videos, your look ( pretty and kind) , your prononciation and your professional knowledge about business… I ‘m exactly in the layout that you describe: not enough time, not enough vocabulary, too much blocages/ freezes ?…..in fact, I think that i have mostly a big lack of patience and regularity !!!!

    Congratulation for your job, your perseverance, your humor.

    Sure, i improuve my english step by step (even if i find it too slow)!

    Best regards !

  11. Hi Catherine,

    Thanks so much for your kind words! And I’m glad you can understand my pronunciation too 🙂

    Yes, I think you are like most people that I help: not enough time, not enough vocabulary, and maybe even a little fear when you don’t find the exact word, which leads to the blocking. But of course, patience, and regularity are the solutions to all of that! (Especially the regularity. As for patience, I try to create courses that can accelerate the process by going direct to the essentials!)

    Thanks for your encouragements! It means a lot to me, as creating a course online is a lot of work (it’s a real adventure!), and you never really know if people watch or like your work unless they tell you! So thanks for the encouragements!

    All the best to you and I hope to see you in lesson 2!

  12. Hello Christina,

    May I add my comments, if it is not too late : Afraid of not being understood by people and of making grammar mistakes.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge in such a great way.

    1. Of course it’s not too late! I can understand the fear of not being understood by people. Sometimes when I speak in French I’m not always sure that I’m clear, especially if it’s a stressful situation! As for grammar mistakes, remember that Americans (and English speakers in general) are very tolerant of grammar mistakes, as we too are sometimes “flexible” or “creative” with the way we use grammar. The most important thing is to communicate your message. If you can do that, the grammar is secondary. 🙂

  13. Hi Christina!

    I’ve been listening your courses for a long time.Your videos are really helpful, clear and easy to understand.

    Unfortunately, English is not my working language, so I don’t practice enough, only when I travel or when I meet foreign people in Congresses.

    I would like to improve my small talk to feel more comfortable because I think it’s the best way to get more confident and finally get a job abroad!

    Thank you very much.

    Bye Bye…

    1. Hi Patrick,

      Good to hear from you again! I hope that you’ve been doing well since our last sessions on conf calls last year. I’m glad you find the videos helpful and easy to understand. Sorry to hear that you don’t get the opportunity to work in English. But at least you can take the opportunities when you travel or attend a congress!

      And you’re right, small talk is so important for making connections, finding business partners, and as you say, getting a job abroad. We like to work with people we feel a connection to, and small talk is the way to create those connections. It’s called “small” talk, but it really plays a big role in business relationships.

      If you’re perhaps interested in the course, but maybe have questions about if it’s right for you, don’t hesitate to contact me and we can talk about it. My email address is contact (at) christinarebuffet.com

      It would be great to hear from you again!

      All the best,

      Christina

    1. Hi Kostyra,

      To be sure others understand you, you can ask questions like “Is that clear for you?”, or “Did I make myself clear?” or even “Is there anything that I wasn’t clear about?” That way, they can ask you, without feeling embarrassed! Good luck!

  14. Hi Christina !

    As an Orientation and Mobility Specialist, working with blind and visually impaired people in France, I wish to improve my english so as to convince my manager (directeur) to let me go to a very big professional event in Ireland next year. I took english during two years when I was in college but I was too wild and young to work seriously… Even if I don’t speak english everyday, it is still a subject, a language that I like very much and I watch so many programs in english every evening that sometimes I can’t even find french words for some feelings I have… (not joking !) Well, I think that my understanding of english is quite good but I don’t have the opportunity to practice so often. I am so pleased to learn more about small talks and getting to know how to improve all this with you.

    Thank you Christina !

    1. Hi Val,

      It’s a great pleasure to see you here, and thanks for your story! Even if you don’t get the opportunity to speak everyday, it’s really good that you’re doing some English everyday with tv programs, movies, etc. Any contact with the language is better than no contact!

      And I totally understand about not finding expressions in your native language! I admit, sometimes I find the French expression more quickly than the English one, especially if it’s for a thing that I learned about in France. “Couette”, for example! In the US, we don’t have the same thing. We have “comforters”, which are similar, but in France, you have “couette” that goes inside a “housse de couette”, but in English, a comforter is a single object.

      My English friends call a “couette” a “duvet”, but I don’t ever use that word.

      So I would think “couette” before I think either “comforter” or “duvet”!

      Anyway, I’m glad you’re here, and looking forward to seeing you on the small talk course!

    1. Where do you live, Sylvie? Maybe there are some language exchange groups? And you can always find a language partner on the internet! All you need is an internet connection to be able to practice. Technology has made learning English so much easier than in the past. 🙂

  15. HI Christina,

    I’ve been injoying your courses for a few time (september 2016). Now I try to make conversation with different contact and the easier it becomes. But I speak with many mistakes because English is not the language in my work life. I think that this course can improve my english. I know that I’ll have other opportunity in my life. Thank you Christina

    1. Hi Georges,

      Thanks so much, and yes, it’s a real pleasure to work with you! Don’t worry too much about speaking with too many mistakes. The important thing is connection with others, not perfection in your English! Of course, it’s good to improve, but making mistakes is part of speaking a foreign language. And I’m sure you’ll find lots of opportunities to speak soon 😉

  16. Many thanks Christina for this video. I’ve captured almost everything and it is so easy to go backward again so I’ve got the feeling I’m really a top expert … which I’m not. I keep in mind to say “I like your shirt” more often as an introduction phrase and we’ll see what comes next ! learning English under such funny situations looks great LOL

    1. Hi Patricia! Thanks so much and I’m so glad that it makes you feel like an expert! Confidence plays a big role in how well you speak English, so if you feel like an expert, your English will flow more easily! Woohoo!

      Yes, a nice little compliment “goes a long way” as we say in English! And often the person will tell you something about the shirt (or purse, or shoes, or whatever…) and that’s a great way to begin a conversation! Have a great weekend and see you soon!

  17. Hi Christina!! Thanks for your lessons. It is verry helpful and I am glad to understand everything You said! Now I still shy to speak.

    1. Hi Emma! I’m glad you understood everything! And now it’s time to work on getting the courage to practice. You can do it!

  18. My dearest teacher thank you so much. I enjoy watching your videos. Your pronunciation is clear and perfect. I can understan you easily. I j?t wander your are French. Imust say I realy appreciate you.

    All my best regards

    Ali

    1. Hi Ali,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m glad that you can understand it easily and that you enjoy watching it. That’s so encouraging!

      I’m not French, I’m American, but I live in France and my husband is French (and so I speak French too!) But I’m from the US!

      All the best,

      Christina

  19. Dear Christina,

    Thank you very much for sharing these important English Courses that help me improving my speaking in English.

    Please keep up working on this. I tried strictly follow the courses I will tell you what will be my English speaking.

    Best,

    Abebaw

    1. Hi Abebaw, You’re welcome and I’m happy to see that you’re improving! Since the day you put this comment, how has your English improved? You said you will tell me… 🙂

  20. I’ve been watching yours videos six months ago. I improved very my listening. I understand a lot of words in yours videos without subtitles.

    Your english is very clear!

    I’m very happy!!!

    Thank you for teach english!

    1. Hi Rogerio, Thanks and your comment is proof that with regular practice, you will see improvement! Good job and keep up the good work!

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