If you want to improve your 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.
Related: Top 5 IELTS Speaking Exam Tips
How to Open a Conversation 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 to Begin a Conversation
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 _____?”
English Conversation 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_____?”
Related: Learn English Speaking on YouTube
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!
Even More Ways to Start a Conversation
According to this article, here are some more ways you could get the conversation started:’
- Talk about the weather (Canadians love this one!)
- Ask if someone saw the local sports game the previous day
- Start with a compliment
- Talk about your location/venue
- Ask for a favour (where the bathroom is for example)
More English Speaking Tips
If you found this English speaking tip useful, and want even more of them, you’ll need to check out this book, 71 Ways to Practice Speaking English: Tips for ESL/EFL Learners on Amazon. This book will help you speak English more fluently and easily in no time! Think about what this would mean for your job, school grades and social life!
Available in a Variety of Formats
You can get this book full of English speaking tips for less than the price of a cup of coffee! Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office as a handy reference guide. Or, take the digital version with you on the go for some inspiration for your English studies. It really is that easy.
Get the Book Today
Does it sound like exactly what you might need to take your English speaking ability to the next level? You can check out the book for yourself over on Amazon:
How to Start a Conversation: 5 Things to Say after “Hello”
Check out this short video for even more ideas about beginning a conversation. In this case, it’s a few different things you can say to someone after you’ve said hello to them. It’s super helpful, so be sure to watch carefully!
Have your Say about How to Open a Conversation
Do you have any tips or tricks that you’d like to share about opening a conversation in English? Any strategy that you like to use more than others? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other English learners, like yourself find this useful teaching resource.
Last update on 2019-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API