Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3: The ‘How To’ Guide – How To Start Conversations

So, a very interesting conversation came up last Sunday morning with a student in my Sunday class and she said, “teacher, how do I speak with foreigners?”

It’s one of the most difficult questions to answer, but in becoming a good conversationalist over the past decade, I know what people want to talk about: themselves!

That’s right.  The first thing someone wants to talk about is their personal life, where they’re from, or their passions.

The situation went like this. One of my students approached a man in line at a coffee shop and she told him where to stand.  After that, she kindly asked him where he was from.  Now, men can have preconceived notions, so the first thing she was afraid of was “what if he thinks I’m hitting on him?” Well, you would tell rather quickly.  If he’s interested, his body language can change.  There are so many different things that can be said and learned in conversing with foreigners, and it calls comes down to the learning experiences.

So, the guy, who she was talking to, said that he came to Thailand with his girlfriend.  My student should’ve immediately said, “oh, nice! Well enjoy your stay!” Just to avoid any friction.  Don’t pursue the conversation because in some cultures, that could be extremely offensive.

My conversation technique? Oh, it’s the best! And it’s ONLY in the podcast.


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