Ballina English How to Keep a Conversation Going in English

How to Keep a Conversation Going in English


imagesOnce you’ve broke the ice and started a conversation in English; you need to keep the conversation going. Keeping a conversation going in English is difficult; especially if English is your second language.

To keep a conversation going in English, you can do a variety of different thing to let them know you are interested in continuing the conversation. The most important thing to do in a conversation in English is to ask follow-up questions. If you don’t ask follow up questions the conversation will most likely stop very quickly. You can improve your English conversation skills if you try. You will get better at speaking English and holding conversation the more you try. Below are some tips to help you improve and extend your conversations in English.

Tips To Help You Improve Your English Conversation Skills

1. Ask questions– to keep the conversation going you need to ask many thought provoking questions in English
• “What did you do next?”
•“Why do you say that?”
• “How did that happen?”
• “When did that happen?”
• “What did you say?”
• Where did that happen?”
• “How did you react?”
• “Did you like it?”
• “Do you recommend it?”

2. Act Intrigued/Interject/Make Positive Exclamations-
• “Really?”
• “Wow, I can’t believe that.”
• “No way!”
• “Tell me more.”
• “Uh huh”
• “Oh No!”
• “That must have been fun.”
• “Right”
• “True”
• “Incredible”
• “Unbelievable”
• “Cool!”
• “That’s so funny.”
• “That’s great.”
• “Sounds interesting”

3. Use Your Body Language to Show you are Interested
• Look at the person
• Smile
• Maintain eye-contact
• Nod your head
• Don’t cross your arms
• Don’t be distracted by your cell phone or other electronic devices

4. Don’t ask “yes” or “no” questions- If you ask the person questions where they can respond with just one word; the conversation may end quickly. To correctly make small talk in English you need to form questions that mostly start with
• “What…?”
• Who…?”
• “When…?”
• “How…?”
• “Why…?”
• “Where…?”

5. Rephrase or repeat what the other person said– If they said, “My trip to Mexico was great.” You could respond, “I’m glad your trip to Mexico was great.” Or if they say, “Our team won five games.” You could say, “Five games!?” This shows the speaker that you are actively listening to what they are saying and you are interested.

Below are three example conversations with follow-up questions in English:

Example 1:
You asked: What are you going to do this weekend?
Person Answered: I am going to my Grandma’s house.

Possible Follow-Up Questions:
Does your grandma live close by?
Where does your grandma live?
What are you going to do at your grandma’s house?
How long will you visit you grandma for?

Example 2:
You asked: What did you do over the summer?
Person Answered: I went on vacation

Possible Follow-Up Questions:
Who did you go on vacation with? Did you go with your family?
Did you visit anyone?
Where did you go?
Was that the first time you went there?
How did you get there? Did you take a plane? Was it a long flight?
I’ve never been there before. Is it far away?
What did you do there?
Was there good weather?

Example 3:
You asked: Do you like soccer?
Person Answered: Yes, I love soccer.

Possible Follow-Up Questions:
What is your favorite team?
When did you start getting so into soccer?
Have you ever been to any great soccer games? Where? Who won? Was it a close game?
Do you have a favorite player? Why?
Did you play soccer when you were a kid? How long? Were you good?
Do you know where I could see a game around here?
Could you recommend any websites, podcasts, blogs, etc. about soccer?

Hopefully, you now have few new ideas about how to improve your English  conversations. The key to keeping English conversations going is to ask questions and to look and act interested in what the other person is saying.