It doesn’t matter how strong or weak your English is, if you know how to a hold a conversation, you can use those skills to  improve your English faster. Many English learners have the problem of not knowing what to say when they meet someone for the first time. I totally understand! Especially when talking to  foreigners, because they usually ask  a lot of questions.If your only answer is  “Yes” or “No,” in 5 minutes, the foreigner has nothing to talk about then walks away. How do we fix this?

Luckily, this isn’t a language problem. It is a simple conversation skill which you can learn about in this lesson and fix after practicing my tips several times in real situations. With some simple steps and key questions, you can have great conversations with  native English speakers, another English-learner, or even someone who speaks the same language as you.

Let’s start and look deeper into how you can have a strong conversation.

Problem Solution

Starting a conversation with “Hi. My name is _______. What’s your name?

You may read this style in your high school English textbooks, but we rarely ever start a conversation like this. It’s better to start with a compliment and connect it with a question.
For example:”I really like your glasses. Where did you get them?“”I have the same UNIQLO jacket. Do you shop there a lot?

Giving one word answers

When asked Yes/No questions, for example, “Do you like baseball?” try to add more information to your answer. This helps the conversation grow; you may even talk more about the Hanshin Tigers or golf later. This is a good chance for you to let other people know about what you are interested in specifically.
For example:“Yes, I do. I love the Hanshin Tigers.” “No, I don’t. I prefer golf.”

Not asking any questions in return

Sometimes, one speaker talks a lot, asks many questions and the other just answers the questions. So simply ask them, “How about you?” and repeat the question to make a conversation more equal.
For example, in a restaurant:

A: How do you like the food here?

B: It’s pretty good. I love the Caesar salad here. How about you? How do you like the food here?

Let’s start with these 3 tips. These are only a few steps, but there are a lot for you to practice. Try them on your co-workers during your lunch break and see how it goes.

I’ll have higher level tips on this topic in the next blog, but first, let’s work on the basics. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to write me. Also, if you have any good tips for us, give us some in the comment section below.

Keep up the good work and I’ll see you in class!

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