I can understand, but I can’t speak!
I have noticed a lot of you ask how to practice English if you are shy and don’t know how to start a conversation. It may sound intimidating to start a conversation with an English speaker but fear no more! I am here to the rescue. English conversation starters are difficult to think of on the spot. That’s why it’s important to practice, practice, practice.
Today, we are going to practice how to start a conversation in English to help you get the ball rolling. You may think that you have to be really advanced or that you are only able to understand English but not speak it. You will never know how good you can be until you try. Give it a shot, watch the video above as many times as you need to help you gain the confidence you need to start speaking. I believe in you!
Top English Conversation ice breakers! Questions and answers
When starting a conversation with someone you don’t know very well, keep it light. Maybe, someone you met at a language exchange or in group chats, I have seen you guys mention in the comments, remember to relax and don’t overthink it. I will go over general questions but remember to talk about things you are interested in so that you don’t run out of things to talk about. Here are my top questions and answers you can practice when starting a conversation.
What do you do for fun?
I like to go on hikes, go to the mall, and hangout with friends. Sometimes I like to go on road trips. What about you? This last question is great to get to know the other person you are talking to. If you don’t understand everything they say, don’t worry and move on to the next question.
What do you do for work?
I work at the local coffee shop. I make coffee all day and I enjoy meeting new people every day.
How long have you been in the US?
I have been in the US for two years. This is a common question between people who are learning English. It is a great way to break the ice with someone in a similar situation.
How are you adapting to the US?
It has been difficult not having my family close and learning English has been difficult. But I know it’s for the best because I am able to help my family from here for a better life. This is a great way to start a friendship when you meet someone who doesn’t know a lot of people and you can become each other’s, practice buddies!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Bogota but I lived in several neighborhoods growing up. Did you grow up in a city or in the countryside? Most people like to talk about themselves because it’s the topic you know the most about. Just keep it simple.
What type of music do you like?
I like all kinds of music but I usually listen to a lot of Spanish music. Do you have a go to song or a favorite song?
How many siblings do you have?
I have two siblings, and you?
Are you married? Do you have any kids?
I have a husband and two kids. Maybe you both are married and can talk about being married and having kids.
How did you meet your husband?
We met through a common friend ten years ago at a wedding. I can’t believe it’s been that long!
What is the food like where you are from?
We eat a lot of bread, rice, beans, and chicken. My favorite thing to eat is empanadas. Have you had an empanada before?
What is your favorite travel destination?
I like to go to the beach so anywhere I can go enjoy the sun and the waves.
What is your dream job?
I dream to become the top salesman in my company and manage a team in my region.
What did you go to school for?
I went to school for marketing but I enjoy doing sales better.
Read more about: How to Answer difficult questions at interview?
Don’t be afraid to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
These are my top 10 questions and answers to help you get a conversation started. I suggest writing these questions so you can practice saying them, as well as the answers to the questions. Practice in the mirror or record your own voice on your phone. Once you feel comfortable with how you sound, practice talking to someone else. I know some of you have group chats where you practice your English, so find someone who would be willing to practice with you and see how easy it can be once you get started.
These are just a few questions but as you go along in the conversation, other questions may arise. Don’t panic and if you don’t understand something, just ask. It’s ok to ask about something you don’t know, that’s how we learn. There are many other resources to help you come up with more questions depending on the topic you are interested in, just PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
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