English Speaking Tip: Opening a Conversation
If you want to improve you’re English speaking skills, you’ve come to the right place! I’m going to give you one a favourite English speaking tip. This one is about how to open a conversation in English.
Opening or beginning a conversation is pretty similar whether it is small talk or not. You can bring up some non-controversial topic, like the weather (or traffic, if you have both just arrived somewhere). Pro English speaking tip: unless you are speaking about the traffic or the weather, your opening comment should be pleasant (it’s okay to complain about snow, rain, or terrible traffic!) If you begin other topics with a complaint, the listener is less likely to want to keep talking.
At a Meeting
If you are at a meeting (such as a Meetup meeting or social organization), you might ask a stranger if they have been attending/ a member for a long time. By telling them it’s your first time, they are likely to introduce you to other people, or at least let you know what to expect. If it is not your first time, and you see someone you know or spoke to previously, you can ask them how they’ve been since you last saw them.
Ask for Information or Help
Other common ways to begin a conversation include asking for an opinion/advice, information, or help. For example, you could ask someone the time or if they have seen your pen or coffee cup. If something has received a lot of attention in the news (and is not controversial), you could ask their opinion, “What do you think about _____?”
When you Have Something in Common
If you and the listener have something in common, bring that up. “You work with _____, don’t you? He and I (went to school together).” You might know that the two of you have some common interest or experience, which makes a great way to start a conversation. When you are at a party and only know the host, you can ask someone, “How do you know_____?”
If Nothing Else Works…
If nothing else works, you can walk up to someone and say, “I’m _____, and I just wanted to introduce myself.” Of course, after that, you should have some reason for wanting to talk to them, even if you have to admit, “I don’t know anyone here, and you look the most interesting.”
I hope that you enjoyed this English speaking tip about how to open a conversation in English!
More English Speaking Tips
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