6.2 Keeping conversations going

Socialising and keeping conversations going.

With this lesson, we will endeavour to raise awareness of some techniques for maintaining a conversation with a person you have just met. You will analyse the effect of different types of questions, practise making different types of questions and come up with and analyse a bank of questions that can be used to keep conversations going. We will also look at a technique for turn-taking in a conversation.

After struggling to break the ice, the next obstacle is to keep the conversation going beyond the initial conversation. For this reason, this lesson aims to provide you with a bank of around 15 questions that you would feel comfortable asking in a conversation with a new acquaintance.

Look at the quotes on "Conversations - Quotes" below and guess what the missing words are. Go through each quote in turn to make sure you fully understand it, and what it can teach you about socialising skills. Do you know any similar quotes about conversation skills?

Check your answers HERE

Study the different question types in the Business English Space.

(Making questions - Write them down to check later)

Exercise 1.

Add question tags to these statements.

  1. You work in marketing.
  2. The music’s a bit too loud.
  3. The opening speech was very inspiring.
  4. The journey wasn’t too bad.
  5. There’s going to be a prize-giving ceremony at the end.
  6. You should tell the organisers that you want to go to the meal.
  7. You haven’t been to one of these events before.

Exercise 2.

Turn the statements from exercise 1 above into negative questions. What changes do you need to make? Which statement doesn’t work as a negative question? Why?

Exercise 3.

Which statements from exercise 1 above could you say simply with questioning intonation? Which words would you stress?

Exercise 4.

Respond to these statements with a hypothetical question to keep the conversation going.

  1. No, we’re never going to relocate – at least, not while our children are young.
  2. I don’t really have time for sports these days.
  3. I’ve thought about starting my own business, but I don’t like the idea of the financial risks involved.
  4. My hobbies? Er … work, cooking, cleaning and sleeping.

Exercise 5.

Imagine you are talking to a stranger at a conference. Think of three

questions you could ask about each the following topics.

Complete and Continue