How good are you at chatting? Not in English, just in general.
Are you a chatty person who always becomes the life of the party or are you a quiet person who prefers to think than speak?
In linguistics (the study of languages) there is a term for people who are chatty and like to engage in conversation and as a result, get lots of listening and speaking practice. They are called High Input Generators (HIGs). A HIG is a person who can get people to spend time chatting with them, someone who is outgoing and sociable.
Are you a HIG?
Trying to learn how to have great conversations in English may just be more difficult than it should be if you don’t have the skill to have great conversations in your own language.
The good news is that when you learn a new language, you are actually creating a new identity for yourself, an English-speaking identity. This means that you can have conversations in English in a completely different way to your first language if you decide to be more chatty or outgoing in English, you can be.
Tips to improve your conversation in English
- Actively listen. Have you ever had someone tell you a story and you suddenly realize that you are not listening and you don’t know how this story began? This means that you have entered the passive listening mode where it easy to just switch off sometimes. To avoid this, make sure you keep eye contact and expect questions on everything the other person says. Stay involved in the conversation by asking questions and don’t use passive responses like ah-huh, I see or yeah. Repeat content back to the person to show that you are listening.
- Find the topics that they want to speak about. If you can engage someone in a conversation about their passions, they will enjoy talking with you.
- Honestly see things from others perspective. If you are always trying to force your opinion on others, you will often find people who disagree with you. Rather than finding ways to conflict your opinions, accept that there can be two differing opinions.
- Use people’s names and make them feel important. By using a person’s name, you can make them feel like they are worthy of your respect. The more details you remember about them, the more important they will feel.
- Smile. Do you like to talk to grumpy people?