When you start learning English, it is always good to start using the language as soon as possible, that’s why we as teachers always encourage students to have conversations with native speakers and fellow classmates.
It is good to start with the usual questions like “What’s your name?” and “The weather is really nice today”, however, there comes a point where that is not enough. We all have heard the same conversation starters over and over again and are often on the lookout of something else.
You know what conversations I am talking about. You already have them in your native language. Those discussions you have with your best friends or family members, where you talk about your hobbies, goals of priorities in life. You explore global issues and topics that are important to humanity.
Now is the time to start exploring such conversations and expand your horizons. In this article, I would like to give you some advice on how to have interesting conversations in English.
1. Ask questions
If you want to be interesting and make a good first impression on someone, this is extremely important. Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on learning more about the person you are speaking with.
Practice the art of Active Listening. Hear what the other person has to say and engage in the conversation. Then, ask questions about what they have to say.
Often times it is a burden to talk to a person that is learning another language. As a teacher, I am trained to listen patiently and correct mistakes, but normal native speakers are not so patient often times. However, if they feel your interest for what they are saying, they will always want to talk to you again.
2. Express Yourself
Besides being interested, you need to learn to communicate more expressively and authentic around people. This is something that Latin Americans have mastered throughout the years.
If you go to any country in Latin America, you will hear vendors screaming, kids playing, people laughing, crying and celebrating. If you have a conversation with any one of them, you will notice that burst of emotions that will make you feel comfortable and welcome.
Try to imitate this the next time you have a conversation in English with someone. Instead of talking about boring and common topics, you might talk about more captivating subjects such as relationships, culture, new business ideas, dreams or future plans. You will see that your vocabulary will improve and you will become a better communicator.
3. Be a great storyteller
Storytelling is a really useful conversational skill to have. When you tell a great story, you capture the attention of your listeners.
You pull them into your world and your imagination. All they want to do then is listen and follow what you are going to say next.
When you tell a story every little detail matters. The people that are listening to you speak are creating an image in their mind as you talk. For this reason, it’s even more important to be expressive with your communication and engage your audience by asking them questions. They don’t have to know the answers, but just the act of asking them questions keeps them engaged.
You really can’t include too many details. Describe the atmosphere that your story takes places in; the time, sounds, smells, colors, people, and events leading up to what happened.
If you find it tough to create a very detailed and visual story because you lack the necessary vocabulary to really explain what you want to say, you can try to write it instead and search for the words that you don’t know in English on an online dictionary.
Storytelling is one of the oldest arts. Before written language, stories were told orally all over the world to bring together and inspire large groups of people around the world.
If you can master the art of telling stories in English, then I doubt that you will have any problems maintaining an interesting conversation.
4. Live Your English
Life is about experiences, and the more experiences and things you learn in English every day, the more you will have to talk about.
It will be impossible to run out of ideas and topics if you are consistently practicing your English by watching TV series, listening to podcasts, meeting English natives and other non-natives or traveling to new places. These are just a few ways you can start creating experiences in English on a daily basis.
Don’t be afraid to speak in public. Take risks. Make mistakes.
It’s all part of the journey to being fluent in English. There is no such things as speaking English perfectly. Even native speakers make mistakes when they speak.
So don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and start a conversation in English today. The value you will gain from your conversations will definitely be worth the discomfort you will experience.
I hope this encourages to take action today. If you do, I promise you these tips will have a major impact in your speaking skills and you will have better and more interesting conversations!