conversations made easy

breaking the ice
keep it going closing

Quotes about Conversations

“Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request.” (Phillip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield)

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” (Ralph Nichols)

“Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen.” (Ambrose Bierce)

“There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation.” (James Nathan Miller)

“You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” (M. Scott Peck)

“There’s a big difference between showing interest and really taking interest.” (Michael P. Nichols, The Lost Art of Listening)

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.” (Henry David Thoreau)

“There are people who, instead of listening to what is being said to them, are already listening to what they are going to say themselves.” (Albert Guinon)

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” (Ernest Hemingway)

“To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.” (Francois de La Rochefoucauld)

“Seek first to understand then to be understood.” (Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

“I would say that listening to the other person’s emotions may be the most important thing I’ve learned in twenty years of business.” (Heath Herber, Herber Company)

The perfect leaving sentence for conversations.

Choose a word from the right-hand box to complete these 3 suggestions for leaving conversations. Check your answer below by clicking on the button “Click here to check your answer”

Learn Business English

I found this article by Science of People website very informing. :”62 Ways to Politely End a Conversation In ANY Situation
Do you want to know how to end a conversation during a network event, at work, on a video call, while on the phone, or in ANY other situation you find yourself in? Here are 62 ways to exit any conversation.”

Click on the heading above to read the full article.

type of questions for conversations

In theory, these are good for ‘opening a conversation up’, because there are many possible answers. In practice, questions with why or how are often better at opening up a conversation than questions with where or when, which can often be answered with a single word or phrase. Examples: Why didn’t you come to this conference last year?, or Where did you go on holiday this year?

In theory, these ‘close down the conversation’, by allowing a one-word answer: yes or no. In practice, only a very rude person would answer with a single word, so they can actually be very effective for keeping conversations going. Examples: Have you had a holiday this year?, or Do you do any sports?

These questions are useful when you want to express your opinion in a way that shows that you want to involve the other person. As these examples show, they can be used to turn an obvious statement into a discussion, to make an opinion seem less direct and to check a fact that you’re not sure of. Examples: Hasn’t the weather been awful this summer?, or Shouldn’t you wait for a better offer before you sell your house?  or Didn’t you use to work in China?

These questions typically include the word ‘would’, or sometimes might or could. It’s also possible to start this type of question with ‘what if + past tense’. Questions like this aren’t great for starting a natural sounding conversation, but they’re very useful for keeping a conversation going when you have run out of other ideas. Examples: In an ideal world, what would your dream job be? or So what if money were no object?

These work in the same way as negative questions, by turning a statement into a question. These are often used to check something we are not sure of, as in the first example, which has rising (questioning) intonation, or simply to invite the other person to respond to your opinion, in which case there is falling intonation, as in a
sentence. Examples: Your wife’s a doctor, isn’t she? or It’s been a great party, hasn’t it.

These are the easiest questions to make, but they can be a very effective way of checking information and encouraging the other person to expand something he/she said earlier. You can change the focus of the question simply by stressing different words. Examples: And there’s nothing you can do about it? or You work in pharmaceuticals? or Really?

www.teachingenglish.org.uk © BBC | British Council 2011

Answers to Exercises 1 to 3 on the following statements

Exercise 1: 1.You work in marketing, don’t you?

Exercise 2: 1. Don’t you work in marketing?

Exercise 3: 1.  (Suggested answer) You work in marketing? – Stress “marketing”

Exercise 1: 2. The music’s a bit too loud, isn’t it?

Exercise 2: 2. Isn’t the music (a bit too) loud?

Exercise 3: –

Exercise 1: 3. The opening speech was very inspiring, wasn’t it?

Exercise 2: 3. Wasn’t the opening speech (very) inspiring?

Exercise 3: – 

Exercise 1: 4. The journey wasn’t too bad, was it?

Exercise 2: 4. doesn’t work as a negative question because the statement was
already negative and it doesn’t make sense as a request for information.

Exercise 3: 4. The journey wasn’t too bad? (Stress on “too”)

Exercise 1: 5. There’s going to be a prize-giving ceremony at the end, isn’t there?

Exercise 2: 5. Isn’t there going to be a prize-giving ceremony at the end?

Exercise 3: 5. There’s going to be a prize-giving ceremony at the end? (Stress on “end”)

 

Exercise 1: 6. You should tell the organisers that you want to go to the meal, shouldn’t you?

Exercise 2: 6. Shouldn’t you tell the organisers that you want to go to the meal?

Exercise 3: 6. –

Exercise 1: 7. You haven’t been to one of these events before, have you?

Exercise 2: 7. Haven’t you been to one of these events before?

Exercise 3: 7. You haven’t been to one of these events before? (Stress on “haven’t”) – Although statement (7) is negative, it works as a genuine request for information. 

www.teachingenglish.org.uk © BBC | British Council 2011

Our others say

" “Why” On my television show, I probably use this word more than any other. It’s the greatest question ever asked and it always will be. And it is certainly the surest way of keeping a conversation lively and interesting."
Larry King
"How can you have charisma? Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are making them feel good about you."
Dan Reiland
"When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England."
A woman after dining with them.
 "I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realise that real communication goes in both directions."
Lee Iacocca
Developer

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