3 tips to help you hold a conversation in English!
Has something like this ever happened to you?
João has recently moved to the UK from Portugal. Some of his friends already live in London, so he wasn’t all alone there. He found a job in a telecommunications company as an assistant for the Portuguese speaking clients. Since he mostly uses Portuguese at his work, his English is a bit rusty. He was invited to a party and he was very excited to go because it was the first party he was invited to since he had moved to London. When he came to the party, he needed to speak in English because everyone there, except a few of his friends, spoke only English. When he was approached by a group of people which wanted to get to know him, he felt anxious because he didn’t think he could hold a conversation in English. He tried just answering to the questions they had asked him, but soon they got bored and left because he didn’t participate more in the conversation. He was left all alone in the corner all night. He felt so sad and ashamed because no one wanted to speak with him…
So, what can you do in a situation like this?
What can you do to feel comfortable speaking in English and even holding a conversation in English?
Is there something that can help you hold a conversation in English?
Many non-native English speakers experience this difficulty, it’s not just you.
Some people just get stage-fright and are unable to hold a conversation in English because they are so worried that they are going to say something stupid and that the whole room is just going to laugh at them.
You do not have to worry!
There are a few things you can do to improve your conversation holding skills, so read on and find out my tips for improving your English conversation skills.
If you want to improve your fluency in English and reach a very high level, you need to forget about your stage-fright and just act natural when holding a conversation in English.
Think of English as your native language and do the things you would do when holding a conversation in your native language.
Practicing how to hold a conversation in English is very important because it helps you reaching a high fluency in English.
People like people who are talkative and have no problems expressing themselves.
If you work on your English skills, you will also improve your conversation holding skills.
Working on your English conversation holding skills doesn’t mean just talking in English. It encompasses working on your vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar skills.
If you feel confident in your vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar skills, then you will feel more confident in your conversation holding skills. You won’t worry anymore about making a mistake and sounding silly.
So, how can you improve your English conversation holding skills?
Here are my top 3 tips on how to hold a conversation in English!
1. Act natural.
The key to a successful conversation in English, as well as any other language is acting natural.
Be friendly and try to feel relaxed when speaking in English.
Get over your fear of making mistakes and enjoy the conversation.
People will notice if you feel uncomfortable and they may feel that they are bothering you.
Take the pressure off and talk to people just like you would talk to them in your native language. Don’t force a topic and just let the conversation flow. Try to answer to questions with more sentences, don’t just answer with “yes” or “no”. This can make people lose interest in the conversation.
Your aim is to keep the conversation going :)
2. Use conversation starters.
If you are at a party and you want to start up a conversation with someone you don’t know, the best way how to do it is by using conversation starters.
You can use some polite questions such as
“Hi. Is this seat taken?”
“Hi. Are you enjoying the party?”
What can be even better, you can start a conversation by noticing something about the other person and complimenting them.
Once you get the conversation started, you can talk about whatever you may like. If you approach a group of people, you may realise that you share something in common with a person in the group.
You can use that in the conversation to make yourself feel included and connected with other people in the group.
3. Avoid silence.
The key to a successful conversation is avowing silence.
If you have trouble understanding what the person said, you can ask them politely to repeat what they said.
To do so, use expressions such as:
“Sorry, I don’t understand.”
“Sorry, could you repeat that?”
“Sorry? I didn’t get that.”
Don’t feel embarrassed if you didn’t understand something, it is perfectly normal.
Also, if you have trouble finding the words immediately, don’t be completely silent because people will feel uncomfortable around you if you are silent for too long.
You can buy time by using expressions such as
“Well, I can’t seem to find the word I’m looking for…”
“I’m not sure that this is the right word, but…”
“What I want to say is…”
“So, what I tried to say is…”
What would have happened if João had followed these tips?
Well, he wouldn’t have spent the night all by himself in the corner.
He would have met many different people and maybe he would have found some new friends. If he had followed these tips, he would feel comfortable enough to try and hold a conversation in English, without thinking too much about what he is saying.
These three tips can help you a lot in gaining more confidence when holding a conversation in English.
You can always upgrade them with many other expressions and tips and tricks.
Just have these tips in mind and use them to work on your English conversation skills.
How do you feel about your English conversation skills?
Do you feel confident enough to try and hold a conversation in English?
Have you ever been in the same situation as João, where you needed to use English in a conversation, but you felt ashamed and didn’t feel comfortable to participate in the conversation?
Don’t let your fears win.
Don’t be afraid of using English in a most natural conversation with someone.
Don’t be like João....
Work on your English skills and fluency to gain confidence and amaze everyone with your capacity of holding a conversation in English.