Culture File 23:
Topics of conversation
The safest topics are the weather and food and drink. The most dangerous topics are religion and politics, which should be avoided unless you know someone well. Medical problems aren’t usually interesting to strangers. Before you talk about personal interests, try to find out what the other person’s interests are. Jokes are a difficult area. Always avoid jokes about sex, ethnic origin, sexist jokes, religion or politics.
Talking about your country and about business acquaintances who you both know are useful topics. In business lunches, always begin with social conversation. At some point, the host can introduce business. The guest should wait for that.