Do you want to improve your conversational English? Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to need to check out these tips about keeping the conversation going. Keep on reading to find out more about how to keep a conversation flowing!
Learn How to Keep the Conversation Going
I’m sure you’ve had this experience before. You’re at a party, at school, or at a family event. You’re talking to someone and then you start to have nothing to talk about. It can be a bad feeling, and I know that it most definitely makes me nervous.
I’m sure it’s the same for you. Here are some English speaking tips to help you keep the conversation going. Learn how to be an excellent conversational partner and avoid that awkward silence!
Are you ready for some conversation awesome? Let’s get to very practical tips for keeping the conversation going!
#1: Go Back to an Earlier Topic to Keep the Conversation Going
If your conversation is dying, you can keep the conversation going by returning to an earlier topic. You can say, “Earlier, you said _____. Tell me more about that.” This lets the listener know that you are a good listener and interested in what they have to say.
It’s one of the best things to keep a conversation going so give it a try.
#2: Give Some Details to Continue a Conversation
Expand what you say by giving details, rather than just a short, direct answer to a question. For example, if someone asks you about your vacation, don’t say, “It was great!” and leave it at that.
Or, “How was your summer?” Good.
Those kinds of answers are mostly conversation killers!
Tell them a few highlights. “It was great! I hadn’t seen my family in a year, so I spent most of my time catching up with everyone.” This isn’t so long that someone who isn’t interested will get bored, and it opens up new areas for questions if the listener wants to know more.
Just remember, nobody likes to listen to someone who is only talking about themselves. Give your conversation partner 1-2 details and then leave it to the other person to follow up on that if they’d like to. This is a great tip for how to keep a conversation going so give it a try.
#3: Offer Some Examples
Support what you say with details and examples. Just as in writing, you sometimes need to “prove” what you say. You can use phrases in speaking that you use in writing. Some examples include:
“In my opinion, . . .”
“I think . . .”
“For example/ instance . . .”
“To elaborate, . . .”
If you’re not sure how to keep talking, this is a nice trick to try out.
#4: Summarize the Main Points, A Good Way to Keep Conversations Going
Summarizing what you hear is a great way to confirm your understanding of the conversation. This is something native speakers do, especially at work or if some type of commitment is being made.
To summarize a conversation, state any important facts or information as well as any agreements that have been made. For example, “I’ll email the report to you by 5:00 this Friday.”
This short sentence checks several details: the report will be emailed, not printed; the due date this Friday, not next Friday; and you have until the end of the day to complete it. If anything in your summary is incorrect, the listener should correct you, “Oh, don’t rush; you have until Monday to finish it.”
If you’re not sure that you heard something correctly, you can say,
“If I understand correctly, you. . .”
“So, what you’re saying is. . .”
The person you’re talking to will confirm or deny what you say and it’s one of the best things to say to keep the conversation going.
#5: Ask Open-Ended Questions to Maintain a Conversation
One of the best ways to maintain a conversation is to ask open-ended questions. A closed-ended question has a yes/no answer and can be a quick way to end a conversation! For example:
- Did you see that latest James Bond movie? (no)
- Do you have any summer vacation plans? (yes)
A better question has an answer other than a yes/no one. Use the 5 W’s + H questions (who/what/when/why/where/how). For example:
- What are you up to this summer?
- What movies have you seen recently?
#6: Look Interested and use Good Body Language
If you want to know how to continue conversations, then you’ll definitely need to use good body language. Look interested in what the other person is talking about. If they sense that you aren’t interested in what you’re saying, the convo will go nowhere.
Use good body language. Have an open stance (no crossed arms), a good amount of eye contact and a friendly smile while you’re talking. Don’t look around the room, like you’re looking for another conversation partner. Focus on the person that you’re talking to.
How to Maintain a Conversation FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about ways to keep the conversation going. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What is an open-ended question?
An open-ended question is one that doesn’t have a yes/no answer. It uses one of the 5W + H questions (who/what/when/why/where/how).
What is a closed question?
A closed question is one that has a yes/no answer. For example:
- Are you hungry?
- Did you see that movie?
What does it mean to maintain a conversation?
If you can maintain a conversation, it means that you’re able to talk to another person without awkward silence. You can build upon what the other person says in a meaningful way.
How do I stop being boring in a conversation?
To stop being boring in a conversation, consider the following points:
- Don’t talk too much! The conversation should be a back-and-forth.
- Use open-ended questions.
- Body language is important! Look interested in what the other person is saying.
- Share your thoughts and ideas with others.
- Don’t be offensive!
- Learn about current events and what’s happening in the world.
- Have 2-3 interesting conversation starters before going to an event.
Do You Like these Tips for How to Continue a Conversation?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 125 Pages - 10/14/2017 (Publication Date)
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There are 200+ tips and tricks to help you learn English quickly and easily. The authors, Jackie Bolen and Jennifer Booker Smith have taught students from around the world for 30 years.
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How to Keep a Conversation Going
A key to continuing a conversation is to keep responses somewhat brief. Add a detail or two and then let the other person talk! If you don’t know someone, you may have to do a self-introduction (at a conference, job interview, business meeting, etc.). Here are some tips for doing that:
Keeping the Conversation Going in English: Join the Conversation
Do you have any tips or tricks on how to keep a conversation going when speaking English? Or, what did you think about our tips? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API