I’m pretty sure that you can remember having a conversation with another English speaker during which you felt quite insecure and didn’t quite know what to say when responding to the other person’s questions – or maybe the other person didn’t even ask you anything and did all the talking themselves!
Here’s what would typically happen during such conversations.
“Hello Sergio, how’s it going?” (this is the other person initiating the conversation)
“Ah, well, I’m doing OK, thanks for asking, and how are you?”
“I’m all right, I’ve got the Monday blues all right, but what can you do when you have to bring another paycheck home at the end of the week, isn’t that right? Anyway, I went to see the football game on Saturday – the Falcons where taking on the Giants and you’d never guess who won the game! The Falcons had to beat the Giants to end their losing streak so they were giving it all they had, but then suddenly…” – and your conversation partner just goes on and on and on…
… and you’re just left wondering when YOU are going to get a chance to say something!
Personally I wouldn’t even call this type of one-way communication a conversation – it’s just one person’s MONOLOGUE and you’re a passive listener, nothing more.
I warmly suggest you take matters into your own hands and make the conversation sound something like this:
“Hello Sergio, how’s it going?”
“Hi John, not too bad actually!”
“That’s good, yeah… Listen, I went to see this football game on Saturday…”
“Hey John, sorry, but I’m not really into football! Ice-hockey is what I prefer, and my team is having a really good run this season! The Rangers, on the other hand, are performing really badly unfortunately – my son roots for them and while I’m happy Boston Bruins are at the top of the league, I don’t like being too enthusiastic about it because it makes him unhappy!”
Now, did you see what happened here?
YOU became the one who delivers the speech, and John had to listen to what YOU are saying instead of making you listen to what he wants to say!
Obviously I’m not trying to say that you should interrupt everyone who starts telling you something, I hope you realize this was an exaggerated example to make you understand one thing:
If you only REACT during English conversations and allow other people to adopt the leading role, you’ll never get a chance to speak and develop your fluency!
Be more daring
Don’t be afraid to say what you want to say – even if the other person mightn’t be really interested in it!
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