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Gambits, Revised Editions

Gambits 1 (Openers) SC103-8/2005E $11.95 Add to Cart
Gambits 2 (Links) SC103-9/2005E $11.95 Add to Cart
Gambits 3 (Responders and Closers) SC103-10/2005E $11.95 Add to Cart
Telephone Gambits SC103-13/2005E $10.95 Add to Cart

Produced by Canada School of Public Service.
Published by Canadian Government Publishing, 2005.


Think of the last time you were in a group where everyone around spoke English. Did you want to say something, but didn't know how to start? Did you have a funny remark, but didn't know how to get people to listen to you? At that point, you needed a gambit.

A gambit is a conversational tool that gets us going. For instance, you could have said, "Guess what? My teacher just got engaged again", or perhaps, "Speaking of bosses, I heard a good joke the other day." There are special gambits for nearly all situations. For instance, if you want to state an opinion, you might start out by saying, "I think that ..." or "In my opinion..." Of if you want to agree with the speaker enthusiastically, you might try, "That's precisely the point!" You know most of these gamits already; the point of these three modules is to get enough practice so you can use them actively when the situation calls for them.

There are four types of gambits. The first group is openers. They are used to lead into something that you have on your mind. For instance, suppose you're thinking of something disagreeable and you want to introduce that topic. So you say, "We'd better face the fact that ..." or, "Whether we like it or not ..."

If you want to tie into what has just been said, you will probably want to use links. For instance, if you disagree with the speaker and want to offer your own opinion, you might say, "I think the real problem is money, not time." Or then, you may want to give your conversational partner some feedback about what he's saying. In that case you use responders, like "You're right!" or "No doubt about that!"

Finally, one speaker usually has to tell the other that he's like to go on doing something else. Then he uses closers such as "Well, it was nice talking to you", or with people who can't take the hint, "Sorry, I've really got to go now."

Telephone Gambits is designed to address the particular restrictions of telephone conversations (lack of facial expressions and situational contexts).

Over 500 gambits are presented in this set of modules.

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This page last modified: June 13, 2005

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