Do you want to know how to start a conversation in English? You’re in the right place! We’re going to give you the rundown on everything you need to know to open a conversation, even if you don’t speak English as your first language.
Learn How to Open a Conversation
If you want to improve your English speaking skills, you’ve come to the right place! I’m going to give you one my favourite English-speaking tips. This one is about how to start 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 topics, 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.
English Conversation Starters
Conversation starters are great for breaking the ice, building rapport, and encouraging engagement. Also, if you are a bit shy, keeping a few English conversation starters in mind will help you develop communication skills. Another great thing about conversation starters is that they reduced stress for introverts or ESL students who are nervous to have a conversation in English.
Here are 10 common conversation starters in English:
- How are you doing today?
- What do you do for a living?
- Have you tried the new restaurant in town?
- What are your hobbies or interests? (take a look at this list of names of hobbies)
- What kind of music do you like?
- Did you catch the news about ___?
- What are your thoughts on the weather lately?
- Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?
- Have you read any good books lately?
- What did you study in college?
How to Start 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.
If you have to introduce yourself at a meeting, you can learn how here: Self Introduction.
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 interests 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
Start a Conversation in English By Introducing Yourself
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 tip about how to open a conversation in English!
Even More Ways to Start a Conversation in English
According to this inc, 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
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 78 Pages - 01/25/2017 (Publication Date)
If you found these tips for how to start a convo in English 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 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.
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How to Start a Conversation in English: Things to Say after “Hello”
So you want to know how to start a conversation in English after you’ve said hello to someone. Here are some things you could say.
- If you’re at a party or an event, ask how the other person knows the host.
- If you’re at school or work, ask someone how the commute was.
- Maybe someone is doing a hobby of theirs. Ask them what they’re reading, how their garden is growing, or whether they’ve been playing tennis for a long time. Tailor the question to what the person is doing!
- Point out something interesting or unusual to them.
- People always love talking about the weather, especially about how hot or cold it is.
- Ask the person if they have any vacation plans for the summer or winter.
Opening a Convo: FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about how to begin a conversation. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What is a good way to start a conversation?
There are a number of good ways to start a conversation. Some of them include:
- Asking for information.
- Paying someone a compliment.
- Introducing yourself.
- Asking for help with something.
- Mention a shared experience.
What are some good conversation starters?
Some good conversation starters for any situation include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- How do you know (the host)?
- Do you have any vacations coming up?
- Did you have a good day?
- Working on anything interesting?
How do you not be boring when having a conversation?
Nobody wants to be boring, right? Here are some ways to avoid that.
- Put away the phone when you’re talking to people.
- Spend time doing hobbies that you love.
- Tell stories but don’t make them too long.
- Ask people questions about themself.
- Break away from the routine once in a while.
How do you practice small talk?
You can practice small talk by following these simple tips:
- Ask open-ended questions (ones without a yes/no answer).
- Ask follow-up questions.
- Put your phone away.
- Know when to excuse yourself to talk to somebody else.
How to Open a Conversation in English: Join the Discussion
Do you have any tips or tricks that you’d like to share about opening a convo 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.
Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API