All posts by Jacqueline Reeves

Jacquelyn Reeves Jacquelyn Reeves is an intercultural and D & I consultant. An adult learning professional with on the ground international experience, she has lived and worked in Germany (Berlin) and in the US for 20+ years and has trained at all levels and sectors in industry and international business programming. Jacquelyn works in a variety of areas: US and German work cultures, Privacy and Security Awareness and Strategies, Teambuilding, Unconscious Bias, Presentation Skills, Negotiation Skills, Women and Negotiation Skills and Personal Leadership Seminars. Her goals are to facilitate international understanding while building resilience under stressful conditions. Jacquelyn has an M.S. in Adult, Continuing, and Occupational Education from Kansas State University and a B.A. in German Studies from Bennington College, USA. She was recently nominated as an “Inspirational Role Model of the Year” by the European Diversity Awards.

An American Discovers Small Talk –  by Jacquelyn Reeves

Small talk delights and confounds us, and it is worth asking why.  In this short humorous piece I will confine myself to American small talk, as there appear to be different variations on this tune, as Mark Twain might also have pointed out if he had written more about American English and less about the German language. 

On the one hand, it can feel overly factual and too easy, (are they making fun of me?) on the other hand, it is full of ambiguity and hidden meaning.  But do you KNOW what that meaning is?  It is also a way of getting to know you quickly, whatever the circumstances, sharing information, getting the real information fast or just having some fun in a bored moment.

Hence I share with you a “Small Talk Vignette” from one of my trips in the US.  Although I am American, I have felt like a foreigner in the US at various times, and this was one of them:

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