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057 Christmas party conversation starters

Christmas Party Conversation Starters

Hey everybody and welcome back to another episode of the Art of Business English. Well Christmas is only a week away and Christmas party season is in full swing. Maybe you have to socialize with people in English and maybe the thought of this is making you a little uncomfortable. Well, before you get drunk and make a fool of yourself, I am going to give you some useful conversation starters that should have you socialising in no time without feeling embarrassed.

What I want to do in this episode is give you the question that you can ask and them some ideas for follow up comments or questions.

Remember before we go any further the most important part of being a great conversationalist is to be a great listener. If you want some more tips on how to be a good listener, then you should take a look at episode 55 of the Art of Business English.

OK, let’s get started with our Christmas party conversation starters. 

Typical Christmas conversation starters 

I will kick things of with some of the more traditional conversation starters.

You could lead with these. I will also give you some follow up questions.

Lead question
Follow up question
So, which department do you work in?
Marketing, sounds interesting. How has the year been?
Have you worked here long?
2 years, how’s the job going?
Do you follow football?
Me too, did you see the Barça match last weekend?
How are you enjoying the party so far?
Good to hear, can I get you a drink?

What you drinking?

What did you have for dinner?

All the food looks so good… I’m not sure what to get! What are you thinking? Or what have you tried?
The fish does look good. Do you enjoy cooking?
What a (insert adjective e.g. lovely) venue. Have you been here before?
Yes, it’s my first time too. I wonder how much this cost.

Oh’ it’s not, have things improved since your last visit?

What you go planned for Christmas?
Me too, lots of dinners and lunches. Do you do anything special on Christmas eve?
Have you bought Christmas presents yet?
You haven’t! Do you need some present ideas?

You have, did you buy any cool presents?

What do you want for Christmas this year?
Sounds nice, do you think you will get it?
What have you bought for the kids? I need some ideas.
Good idea. Did you buy that online or locally?
How does your family celebrate Christmas?
We open our presents together as a family, but we have an interesting way of doing it. How do you manage present opening?


Right, there are a few typical ways that we can open up a conversation in a pretty non-offensive way. Remember we are always listening to the answers and the key words so that we can generate a further question. This way we can keep the conversation moving a long smoothly.

Deeper Christmas party conversation starters


If you are feeling a bit more comfortable and you want to generate some more interesting discussion and go a bit deeper, you could try some of the following.

Deeper questions
Follow up questions
What projects have you been working on this year?

What challenges have you faced?

What has been your greatest success?

How would you rate your year from one to ten?

Really! An 8, so pretty good, why was that?

OH! A 4, wow, what happened?

What New Years resolutions have you got in mind?

None! Why don’t you like to make resolutions?

Wow, those sound great, do you have any tips of making sure you follow them?

What is your best Christmas memory?

Wow, mine was when…

I still love Christmas every year. I think it awesome as a parent. What about you?

What is an ideal Christmas for you?

Interesting. I will have to adopt some of your ideas. For me it’s…

Do you like to go away for Christmas?

So here we are at a work function. But what I really want to know is what is your dream job?

That sounds awesome. Mine would be…

How do you think you can get your dream job?

What’s been your happiest moment this year?

That’s lovely. Mine was when…

What do you think will make you happiest next year?

What has been your biggest disappointment this year?

Oh, that sucks! Never mind, live and learn.

What lesson do you think you learnt from that?

How do you think you have grown either personally or professionally this year?

That sounds really cool.

Do you have any personal development ideas for next year?

How can we be better at our job?

That’s some great advice. If I could improve one aspect it would be…

What would you like to improve most?


Now we have to remember that these may be too deep for some people, while others may love this type of conversation. The deeper questions can be saved for those really interesting people you meet, those who can save you from banal work function conversations that serve no purpose but to pass the time. Personally, I hate those conversations, they suck! I love meeting new interesting people.


Easier Christmas party conversation starters


Just in case you need to bring the conversation back to the banal world then here are a few questions to return to the surface.

Easy lead question
Follow up question
So, how many days are you taking off over Christmas?
Nice, I would love to take more but I am saving for summer. Is your husband/wife working?
Are you going anywhere at Christmas?
OH nice, sounds great. What will you be doing in Prague? Is it your first time there?
Have you got young kids?
Oh teenagers. So, what do teenagers want for Christmas these days?
Is it hard buying for your husband/wife? I just don’t know what to get any more.
Yeah, me too. What do you get someone who has everything?
Can you recommend any good wines for Christmas?
Great! Where did you get them from?


Well, there you have four easy questions to get back on track when someone isn’t responding well to your deeper questions. I hope these serve you well and lead to wonderful and interesting conversation.

Final thoughts

Well my friends, that brings us to the end of a quick episode this week. These questions can be memorised or written down on a piece of paper and then put into action at your next work Christmas party. Once you have broken the ice with people, I am sure you will get into the swing of the conversation and have some engaging discussion.

Before I go I would like to remind you all that you can get a copy of our 500 business collocations eBook at a special AOBE listeners only price by going to www.theartofbusinessenglish.com/get500. If you’re looking for Christmas ideas that would be a great one for anyone who is trying to improve their business English.

Finally, be sure to subscribe to the AOBE podcast for your free weekly dose of value business English content. You can subscribe at www.theartofbusinessenglish.com/subscribe , there are all the ways to get the AOBE podcast, iTunes, spotify, stitcher or we’ll send you an email with each episode weekly.

That is all for me, have a great week, don’t leave your Christmas shopping to the last minute. Bye for now.

How to Engage People in Conversation

How to keep a conversation going?

With this course, I’m teaching my entire system that shows you how to engage people in conversation with confidence. This is the entire, workable system that I have been teaching for many years to get my students' the results they desire.

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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