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Conversation Practice

Find out a few things about the person you'll be talking to (if you can) before you actually start a conversation. Websites as well as Facebook and Twitter profiles can be good sources of information, as long as you're careful not to come across as a stalker. Kick off the conversation with some interesting information that's not too personal.


Find out a few things about the person you'll be talking to (if you can) before you actually start a conversation. Websites as well as Facebook and Twitter profiles can be good sources of information, as long as you're careful not to come across as a stalker. Kick off the conversation with some interesting information that's not too personal.


            "I was looking at the biochemistry department website and saw that you're working on a pretty interesting thesis! How did you come to choose that topic?"


            "I saw on the office memo that you're working on the outreach project for local schools. How's that going?"


            "Is it true that you just went skydiving


Ask questions so that the other person can talk about himself or herself. "What do you like to do?" "What sort of things have you done in your life?" "What is happening to you now?" "What did you do today or last weekend?" Identify things about them that you might be interested in hearing about, and politely ask questions. People love having a chance to discuss their passions or their subjects of expertise.


            Ask questions for clarification. If your conversation partner is talking about an occupation or activity you do not understand, take the opportunity to learn more.


            Make sure that your interest appears genuine. Maintain eye contact and nod your head or interject comments like, "That's interesting."


            Use open-ended questions. Skip the simple "yes" or "no" questions. Instead, ask a question that will allow your partner to talk extensively. "So you love to go hang gliding. What made you get into it in the first place?"


            Start superficial. Ask more generic questions at first. Then, gauge your partner's comfort level. If your partner seems willing to open up, then you can ask some more personal questions.


Inject invitation and inspiration.


            An "invitation" happens when you say something that lets your partner know that it's his or her turn to speak. Generally, invitations come in the form of questions.


            "Inspiration" means that you come up with a great topic that makes your partner want to have a discussion. For instance, you could share a funny story that will remind your partner of a similar thing that happened in his or her life, or you could share your thoughts about something and inspire your partner to respond.


Listen actively.


A conversation will go nowhere if you are too busy thinking of other things, including what you plan to say next. If you listen well, you'll identify questions to ask based on the other person's statements.


            Paraphrase back what you heard the person say. "So you're saying that skydiving is the biggest rush you've ever experienced?" Doing this shows respect for the other person and gives him or her the chance to correct your understanding, affirm it or embellish upon it.


            Encourage the other person to do most of the talking. Your conversation partner will feel as though you are attentive and engaged, and you will get the credit for being a great conversationalist.


Occasionally, ask the question that is looming over the conversation. Humans are social creatures, and society has etiquette that's based on rules. There's so much etiquette it would be painful to list, but it's worth noting that sometimes people enjoy stepping beyond etiquette and talking about the things they thought they weren't allowed to talk about. It can be really refreshing, and pave the way for great conversation.


            There's a rule out there about not discussing religion and politics, and it's generally a good one. If you think you can have a discussion with someone without making them feel threatened by your beliefs, go for it!


            Love is another forbidden subject. We don't want to pry into other people's personal lives, just as we don't want others prying into our own. Sometimes, however, people want an excuse to talk about their love life. If your conversational partner says something like "I don't think that's an appropriate topic", apologize and move onto another subject.


The examples for the effective conversations are given below:


Buying Electrical Goods


A. Good morning, can I help you?

C. I hope so. I'm looking for a television.

A. The Toshiba TV5 is on special offer this week.


C. How much is it? A. Only $299.95.


C.It's a little expensive. Do you have a cheaper one? A. Yes. This one's only $150. C. What make is it? A. It's a Panasonic.


C. I like it, but it's still a little too expensive. Is there any chance of a discount? A.Hmmmmm, OK, we can do it for $140.


C. Great, I'll take it. Do you accept credit cards? A. Yes we do


Telephone English


A: Good afternoon, Fowler's, may I help you?

B:Extension 237 please.

A:I'm sorry, the line's busy, will you hold?

B:Yes, I'll hold ................

A:I'm putting you through.

C:Marketing, Harry Webb speaking.

B:Could I speak to Maurice Caine please?

C:I'm sorry, he's in a meeting at the moment.

B:Do you know when he'll be back?

C:He should be back around four. Can I take a message?

B:Yes, please ask him to call David Jones on 629 3478

C:629 3478, right?

B:That's right.

C:OK, I'll see he gets your message


Banking - Opening an account


A:Good morning, can I help you? B:Yes, I'd like to open a deposit account.

A:Certainly Sir. Would you like a Silver or a Gold account? B:What's the difference?


A:You can open a Silver account with just $5. The account comes with a cash card so you can withdraw your money at any time. The Silver account currently pays 5% interest. For the Gold account you need a minimum of $500, and you have to give 14 days notice to withdraw money. The interest rate is 6.5%. B:I'll go for the Silver account. A:How much would you like to deposit?





A:And we'll need two proofs of ID; telephone bill, driver's license, credit card statement etc.

B:I'm sorry, I don't have any of those on me. I'll come back tomorrow.





Finding an Apartment


A:Hi, what can I do for you?


M:I'm interested in the apartment in Marine Drive. What can you tell me about it? A:It's a conversion on the second floor of a beautiful, four-storey building. It has two bedrooms and a large living room overlooking the sea. The kitchen and bathroom have recently been re-fitted. M:Is it centrally heated?


A:Yes, it's centrally heated throughout, and double-glazed too. M:Does it have a parking space?


A:No, but there's plenty of unrestricted parking in Marine Drive and nearby. M:How much is it?


A:It's $139,995, but I believe the owner would be willing to accept an offer. M:How long is the lease?

A:There's no lease, it's a condominium.




S:Dad. Can I borrow the car tomorrow? F:Why do you want to borrow the car? S:I'm going to the beach with Tony.


F:Last time you borrowed it you had an accident and dented the door. S:I promise I'll drive carefully this time. F:And the gas tank was almost empty. S:I'll fill it up before I get home.


F:Well, OK then, provided you're home by 8. I'm going out tomorrow evening and I need the car.


S:Great. Thanks dad, I'll be home by7:30


Bert is starting a new job


A.Welcome to Smith & Jones, Bert. Do you have any questions? B.Yes, what time do I have to start work? A.You have to start work at 8.30. B.What do I have to do?


A.You have to type letters, make tea and answer the telephone. B.Do I have to wear a uniform?


A.No, you don't have to wear a uniform, but you must wear a tie. B.Can I smoke?


A.No, you mustn't smoke in the building. You'll have to go outside if you want to smoke.

B.Do I have to work overtime?

A.Yes, you have to work overtime every other Saturday


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