How can I join conversations?

Have you ever tried to say something in a conversation but couldn’t? Maybe the other speakers didn’t stop talking. Maybe the topic changed too quickly. Joining a conversation can be difficult in another language. It can be even more difficult when there is more than one other speaker.

Be careful not to interrupt the other speakers when joining—this can be rude. It’s better to start speaking when there is pause in the conversation. It’s good to start by reacting to the speaker and then saying something related to the topic. For example, say ‘Really? I also…’, ‘Me too. Actually, I…’, or ‘No way! I didn’t know that, but…’

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Sometimes there may be no pause in the conversation. Or maybe the other speakers are talking too quickly. You may have to interrupt the speaker. Then, try not to be too direct. Sometimes body language can also help eg. smiling at the speaker and raising one hand a little. Then use language like ‘Sorry, can I just say something…?’ or ‘Sorry to interrupt but…’

It’s good to help other people in the conversation, too. Maybe another person joins your conversation later. Help them by introducing them to the other speakers. Use phrases like ‘By the way, this is…’ It’s good to also tell the new person what you were talking about. Use phrases like ‘We were just taking about…’ Maybe you can ask them what they think about the topic.

Conversations in another language can be difficult. So, it’s good to practice with real conversations, even if it’s with another language learner. Don’t worry about making mistakes—just jump in!

Extra tip!
  Maybe other speakers interrupt you before you’ve finished speaking. You want to speak a little more. Then try using body language. Try smiling and raising your hand a little. This will tell the other speaker to wait. Maybe, they don’t stop speaking. Then you can politely say ‘Sorry, just let me finish’.

Related links:

Four phrases you need for casual conversations?

Using TV sitcoms to improve your conversation skills

Conversation Skills: 10 tips for English language learners (Pomaka graded reader)