Keeping Or Killing The Conversation

Let’s Chat! Pages 40-43

Goals= To keep a conversation going after one question; to keep a conversation interesting.

Conversation is an important part of any language- Korean, English, Chinese, etc.  If we want to communicate well, we need to know how to keep a conversation going. Today we are going to go over phrases that will help us communicate well and keep conversations alive.

We will learn about conversation killers (phrases that will stop a conversation or will keep the conversation from flowing smoothly).

We will also learn about conversation keepers (phrases you can say or questions you can ask to keep the conversation moving forward).

First, let’s look at conversation killers:

  • I don’t know.
  • I don’t care.
  • That’s a good question.
  • I’m not sure.
  • I have no idea.
  • I’d have to think about that.
  • Umm…I’d rather not say.
  • I guess so.

If you say one of these phrases and nothing else in response to a question, the person who asked may think you don’t want to speak to him/her.  S/he may walk away and stop trying to talk to you if you answer in this way.

Now, let’s look at conversation keepers.

  • What do you think?
  • What’s your opinion?
  • What are your thoughts?
  • How do you feel?
  • How about you?
  • What about you?

These conversation keepers are all questions.  They mean you want to see what the other person thinks.  You ask these questions to see what differences and similarities you have with the person you’re speaking to.  The conversation can open up other topics and more in-depth conversation after asking these questions.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

KILLERS

A. What are you planning to do next weekend?

B. I don’t really know.


A. What are your plans for this weekend?

B. I don’t have any plans.

KEEPERS

A.  What are you planning to do this weekend?

B. I’m not sure yet. What about you?

A. I’m going to the beach.


A. What are your plans for this weekend?

B. I don’t have anything set in stone yet, but I may go to a temple.

A. Oh! That sounds interesting. What temple do you want to go to?

KILLERS

A. How old are you?

B. Umm, ahh… I’d rather not say.


A. You look young. How old are you?

B.  I’m older than I look.

KEEPERS

A.  How old are you?

B.  That’s a good question. How about you?

A. I’m 26, but I think you’re younger than I am.


A. You look young. How old are you?

B.  I get that a lot, but I’m older than I look. How old are you?

A.  I’m 26, but people often tell me I look older.

KILLERS

A. Don’t you think there are too many problems with nuclear power?

B. I have no idea.


A. There are too many problems with nuclear power, right?

B.  I guess so.

KEEPERS

A. Don’t you think there are too many problems with nuclear power?

B. I would have to think about it. What do you think?

A. I think it is dangerous and expensive.


A.There are too many problems with nuclear power, right?

B.I don’t know much about it. What kinds of problems are there?

A.Well, they’re expensive and dangerous

KILLERS

A. How do you feel about our teacher?

B. Umm, uhh, I’d rather not say.


A. Do you like our teacher?

B. I’m not sure yet.

KEEPERS

A.How do you feel about our teacher?

B. That’s a good question. How about you?

A. I think he’s nice.


A. Do you like our teacher?

B. I think she’s okay. What about you?

A. I haven’t decided yet.

Students A and B have two separate sets of questions.

Student A will ask the first question.

Student B will first answer with a KILLER statement.

Student A will ask the first question again, and then Student B will respond with a KEEPER statement. Student A will then respond one more time.

For example:

A. What’s the best age to get married?

B. I don’t know.


A. When is the best age to get married?

B. I think 30 is a great age to get married. What do you think?

A. I think it depends on the person, but 30 sounds like a good age.

Next, Student B will ask question 2.

After going over the 15 questions, we will make our own questions to ask different partners. Your questions can be silly/embarrassing, difficult, easy, etcetera. Try to use a variety of different questions.

There are a few taboo topics that many people feel embarrassed to answer.  Here are a few questions that may be hard for people to talk about.

  • How old are you?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • Why don’t you have a boy/girlfriend?
  • How much money do you make?
  • What’s your worst quality?
  • Do you like how I look?
  • What do you dislike about me?
  • Have you ever cheated on your significant other?
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