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Socializing - Part 2 - Conversation

Socializing - Part 2 - Conversation

 

Alternative flash content

Requirements

Having a social conversation

 

 

Hello! In this lesson, we will practice having a social conversation. We will learn how to take cues from statements and turn the cues into conversation items.

In this scenario, David and Jennifer are visiting their friends Joe and Elizabeth. They are sitting down to eat dinner, and all four are involved in a conversation.

David: What have you been up to, Joe?

Joe: Not much. Things have been busy at the office. We're working on a big contract with a machine company in Minnesota.

David: Have you ever been to Minnesota?

Joe: No, but we're thinking of going there on vacation this summer.

Elizabeth: Yeah, Joe has business in Minneapolis, and I have some friends there.

Jennifer: I've only been to Minneapolis once briefly, but I've been to St. Paul a lot of times.

David: Yeah, St. Paul has an international festival every year in the spring. It's a lot of fun.

Elizabeth: That sounds interesting.

Joe: It sounds educational too.

David: Speaking of education, did you hear that I'm going back to school?

Elizabeth: You are? What for?

David: I'm going to take a university international business course to help on the job.

Joe: Mr. Smith went back to school. That's how he moved up in your company.

Jennifer: Really? Where did you hear that?

At dinner, David initiates a conversation by asking Joe "What have you been up to, Joe?". This question means the same as "What have you been doing lately?" or "What have you been doing recently?".

It is a good conversation-opener, which allows Joe to talk about something he is interested in.

Joe answers by saying "Not much. Things have been busy at the office. We're working on a big contract with a machine company in Minnesota.".

With this answer, Joe indicates all the things he might be interested in talking about – his office, a big contract, a machine company, and Minnesota.

David doesn't know how much he should ask about Joe's company, because he doesn't want to "talk shop", which means talk about business the entire time.

David asks "Have you ever been to Minnesota?". The conversation could have gone a lot of ways. David could have asked ""Which company?" or "What's the contract about?" or "How are things at the office?" or "Doesn't Jason Brown work in your office?".

No matter how the conversation goes, David asks a question to show interest and to get enough information to continue the conversation.
Joe says "No, but we're thinking of going there on vacation this summer.".

He cannot add to the conversation about Minnesota directly, so he adds that he and Elizabeth might go there on vacation. This offers everyone a chance to talk about Minnesota or vacations.

The conversation could branch out in many different ways. Someone could say "Guess where we're going on vacation?" or "I can't wait for vacation. I'm so tired of working." or "I don’t want to go anywhere on vacation. I want to paint the dining room.".

Jennifer says "I've only been to Minneapolis once briefly, but I've been to St. Paul a lot of times.". Since Minneapolis and St. Paul are both cities in Minnesota, (in fact they are called the "Twin Cities" because they are right next to each other) Jennifer can tell what she knows about Minnesota. Now the conversation can branch out about Minneapolis or St. Paul. Someone could say "Which city do you prefer?" or "Why have you been to St. Paul a lot of times?".

David joins in by adding "Yeah, St. Paul has an international festival every year in the spring. It's a lot of fun.". Someone could ask "Where is it held?" or "What do they do at an international festival?" or "It's so cold in Minnesota! Do they even have spring?".

Elizabeth says "That sounds interesting.". She is possibly trying to sound interested, but she does not advance the conversation very much.

To help conversation, she could ask a question about how they know about the festival. She could ask "Do you guys go to the festival?" or "It sounds like you've gone to the festival – Jennifer, have you gone to it?"or "You really enjoy traveling. Do you send much time in Minnesota?".

Joe adds, "It sounds educational too.".

David uses this statement as an opportunity to change the subject. He says "Speaking of education, did you hear that I'm going back to school?".

This is an excellent way to turn a conversation. When you hear something interesting, saying "Speaking of (topic), have you heard (information)?".

Elizabeth says "You are? What for?". This is a great way of letting David talk about his new educational venture. She could have said "What are you going to study?".

David answers "I'm going to take a university international business course to help on the job.". This statement holds a lot of conversation items. Someone could ask about the course. "What’s the name of the course?" or "Who teaches that course?" or "Is your company helping pay for it?" or "Wow, is this a good opportunity for you?".

Joe adds that "Mr. Smith went back to school. That's how he moved up in your company.". Joe opens up the conversation to talk about people from work, school, moving up in a company.

Jennifer finds this very interesting and asks "Really? Where did you hear that?". She verges on "gossip" by asking this question, but this is a group of friends who are all acquainted with the same people, so some talk about people will not be frowned upon.

Wonderful! You are ready for a social conversation. "That sounds interesting!".