Moving Beyond “Where are you from?” to Create a Conversation

Even though I know this question is boring, I’m guilty of asking it over and over again: “Where are you from?” If you have even the slightest accent or even a behavior that suggests that you’re not a local, people are likely to ask you where you’re from. Whether you are living or traveling in another country or region, you’ll probably encounter someone who wants to know a little more about you. Rather than quickly … Read the article and watch the video lesson

Principles of Making Small Talk in English & Guidelines for Casual Conversations

If you’re interested in having better conversations in English, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of small talk. Because making small talk is so essential in English-speaking cultures, I want to make sure we’re on the same page. Let’s go back to basics and talk about the principles for making small talk. But first, I want to remind you: making small talk is incredibly cultural. Small talk may vary between cultures, so I’m going … Read the article and watch the video lesson

Ask “How do you like to start your day?” to Get People Talking About Morning Routines

When you first wake up in the morning, how do you feel? Tired? Well-rested? Energized? Lethargic? Your answer to this question may vary on a daily basis based on what you did the day before, whether you’re waking up with an alarm, your plans for the day, the season, or your general outlook on life! If you think about it, your morning habits can set the foundation for a well-organized, productive day, or they can … Read the article and watch the video lesson

What brings you here? Four Short Words Can Start a Conversation in English

 You only need four short words to start a conversation in English. Simply ask, “What brings you here?” Whether you’re at a café, restaurant, museum, amusement park, concert, rally, conference, or networking event, you likely have a clear reason for being there! Maybe you’re writing the last chapter of your Master’s thesis and needed to get out of the house. Perhaps you’ve brought your nephew to the park to celebrate his birthday in style. … Read the article and watch the video lesson

Tell me about yourself! Be Prepared to Answer This Open-Ended Question

When I left my job in Chile a couple of years ago, I interviewed several people who were interested in taking over for me. Because I wanted to get to know them and their reasons for applying for this position, I started each interview with the same question: Tell me about yourself. This short phrase is actually one of the most common inquiries at job interviews and in networking situations. (You may also hear it … Read the article and watch the video lesson

What do you do? Create a Strong Answer to This Very American Question

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This common expression reminds us that you want to make sure you present yourself well from the very first time someone interacts with you, whether that’s meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time, showing up to a job interview, or randomly chatting with a stranger at a café or bar. The same thing goes for meeting someone online: that first email or social … Read the article and watch the video lesson