$ Look, I need your help.
$ What’s happened?
$ When we last met, two years ago, we started working with this book, then I broke it and finished with another teacher. Then I changed jobs. Now I am with the company T.
$ Congratulations! I have a T laptop.
$ I am in T mobiles. Anyway, my superiors are Germans. Our corporation has subsidiaries in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, so the circular language is German. For a couple of months I have been writing all the emails on my own, doing reports and that’s what I am able to do. My boss is going to come back to his country soon and I’m going to be in charge of representing our department at meetings and trainings. He won’t take charge of what I do anymore, so I am supposed to prepare myself to this. I can’t speak German, my hearing for German is impaired and it makes me very tense. Adding to this lunches and dinners together, I mean small talk, which I can’t make, either.
$ When is your boss going to get back to Germany?
$ From out the 1st I am on my own.
$ So we have plenty of time. Let’s get started with small talk. For the next meeting please prepare as beautifully as you can the following subjects: my family, my free time, my last holiday, politics in my country. Prepare these subjects if you feel like it; if you prefer other subjects, prepare other subjects. The criterion of your choice is great fun. And while working on it imagine that you’re in a restaurant. What restaurant do you usually go to for business dinners?
$ So imagine that you’re in Délice. In your mind’s eye see the interior of Délice: curtains, napkins, carpets, cutlery, glasses. Touch the glass, touch the napkin, feel the different textures. Can you hear music? What is this? Jazz? Opera? Smell the mixed fragrances: fried meat, cooked vegetables, perfumes, sweat. What have you ordered?
$ Borsch, cabbage rolls, cheese cake.
$ Distinguish the flavors: beet acid, sweet dessert, salty sauce, spicy filling. Is there anything bitter? Orange zest? Coffee? The more senses you involve in preparing your small talk, the better you activate your right brain and consequently your brain works more efficiently.
$ That sounds stupid to me. I can imagine everything, what I can’t do is speak German!
$ Do you have the impression that you’re losing your precious time that you could use to learn a long vocabulary list?
$ Besides, you are tempted by the possibility of not doing this, because I, your coach, won’t be able to check whether you did it and I won’t prove to you that you didn’t.