Here are a couple of situations for you. Do either of them sound a little familiar?
You are out doing a bit of shopping and you see an old colleague/friend. You decide to approach him/her and start a discussion with the intention of finding out what they are doing these days, how their family is, etc.
You need to speak with a work colleague who is full of the joys of spring having just returned from holiday. It’s time to start a discussion with him/her and explain what it is you need/want from him/her.
Although starting a discussion should be a piece of cake, doing so can often be more difficult than first anticipated. You don’t want to come across super awkward or sound unnaturally weird and you certainly don’t want to be a pain, so here are some common phrases you may want to employ next time you have the opportunity to practise a bit of conversation starting English!
Starting a Discussion
What phrases have you used to start a discussion recently? Do you think you will use any of the expressions above?
Have you ever been in the difficult situation of having (or trying to have) a conversation with someone who, for whatever reason, just does not want to contribute to the conversation? Perhaps he/she is a little bit shy or maybe they are not confident enough in their use of English, but either way it doesn’t make things any easier and those quiet times when the conversation dries up can be awkward! Well, next time you find yourself in a similar situation, why not try to help things out by incorporating a few useful English phrases? The phrases below are common English phrases that native English speakers often use to help keep a conversation flowing. The phrases don’t need to be used just in awkward situations and are equally suitable to help along a nice discussion with someone such as a friend.
Common phrases to help keep a conversation flowing.
Have you ever been involved in a conversation that included some uneasy silences? What did you do?
What other phrases might you use to keep a conversation flowing with someone? Let me know your thoughts by posting a comment!
A company called Froogle, is organising a conference in London. During the break, all the people attending the conference have the chance to meet up to get to know each other. Take a look at the conversation below the photograph and see if you can find the six deliberate mistakes. Post your answers in the comments below.
A group of business people at business conference.
Paco: Hello Alison! I’m so pleased to see you again.
Alison: Hi Paco. I didn’t know you were attending this conference. How are you?
Paco: Thanks, fine. And you?
Alison: I’m OK. Is Jose, here too?
Paco: No, he can’t make it this time.
Alison: Never mind. Ah look, here’s Ali. Hi there. Do you both know each other? Paco – this is Ali Akram. He’s from Casablanca.
Paco: Hello. Pleased to meet you.
Ali: I’m please to meet you too. Have you been to here long?
Paco: No. I’ve only been here for about an hour. What about you?
Ali: I came early today morning…. and this is Fatima. She works with me in Casablanca. I’m sorry what you did say your name was?
Paco: I’m Paco, from Madrid. Pleased to meet you. Paul, is speaking next. Have you had a chance to meet him yet?
Fatima: No, not yet. I have heard a lot about him.
Paco: Well, can I introduce you to him? I can see him just over there.
Paco: Er….Paul. Can I introduce you to Fatima?
Paul: Hello Fatima. How are you? I think I saw you give a presentation a couple of years ago. Please to actually meet you. Do you like something to drink?
Most of us will have to attend a business conference at some time in our lives and for some it is a regular occurrence.
Conferences are a great opportunity to meet business associates and make new contacts. Knowing how to greet people and say goodbye in a correct and appropriate way is important but often difficult to do for many non-native English speakers.
Have a look at the dialogue between some business associates below. They have just attended a conference and now it is time to leave.
Can you spot the six errors in the dialogue? I have started you off by underlining the first error.
– I’m afraid it gets late. I really must to go.
– OK. It was a great conference wasn’t it?
– Fantastic. Especially John’s speech.
– Yes. Don’t forget to email me the transcript.
– I won’t. Take care Sarah. It was good to see you. Bye.
– Yes it was good to see you too. Say hello to Simon for me. Tell him I will call him.
– Of course. He will be pleased to hear from you. See you then and goodbye, Lisa.
– Goodbye, Pete. Have a good travel. It was great to meet you.
– Bye all!
– So Sarah, when you leave?
– Well not for a while as yet…my flight is at eight o’ clock.
– Well please to visit us here again one day. John! Hi.
– I would like to say…Thanks everything. It was a fantastic speech.
– Thank you. You are too kind. Will you be in New York next month?
– Yes. I am really looking forward to it.
– Great.I’ll send you the schedule next week. See you then. All the best!