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  • Hello.

  • My name is Emma, and in today's video I am going to teach you how to be better at conversation and speaking. Okay?

  • So, in this video I'm going to teach you about how to become better at conversation with a technique.

  • We call the technique "F-O-R-D" or "FORD."

  • This technique will really help you if you're shy, if when you meet people for the first time you don't know what to say,

  • if you feel very uncomfortable at parties or in meetings or any social events.

  • This is a great technique.

  • Even if you're amazing at socializing, this video can still really help you even improve more than what you already can do.

  • So let's get started.

  • Okay, so the first thing I want to talk about is we use FORD as a way of small talk.

  • So, what is small talk? Okay?

  • Small talk is the type of conversation we have with people we don't know well or strangers.

  • So, you might make small talk with your neighbours, you might make small talk with your boss,

  • with your colleagues, maybe if you're, you know, going to a coffee shop you might make small talk with the store clerk.

  • So, you make small talk with people you don't know well and it's just a way to make people

  • feel comfortable in conversation and to create a connection with people.

  • A lot of conversation is small talk.

  • If anyone has ever talked to you about the weather, sports, you know, all sorts of different topics -

  • these are usually small talk topics.

  • So, again, you might make small talk at parties, in elevators, at meetings,

  • even if you're taking English classes, you will probably make small talk there as well.

  • So, how do we get good at small talk?

  • What do we talk about when we don't know what to talk about?

  • Well, that's where FORD comes in.

  • FORD is a technique which will help you know what to talk about when you really have no idea.

  • So maybe this has been you before.

  • Okay? Maybe this is you: "What should I talk about? Ah."

  • Or, you know, maybe it's just a bunch of question marks.

  • "I don't know what to say."

  • It's totally silent. It's awkward.

  • So, how can we fix this situation?

  • Well, FORD stands for four things.

  • "F" stands for "family."

  • You can talk about family, and I'm going to give you some great questions

  • you can use to ask about somebody's family.

  • "O" stands for "occupation" or" job."

  • I'm going to give you some great questions about occupation that

  • you can ask somebody you don't know well to keep the conversation going.

  • "R" stands for "recreation," this is like hobbies, sports, movies, Netflix, TV. Okay?

  • So I'm going to give you some great questions for hobbies or recreation.

  • And finally, "D" stands for "dreams."

  • This is when you ask somebody about their future goals or, you know, something they want to do.

  • This does not...

  • Dreams does not mean when you go to sleep, if you have some weird dream and you share it with somebody.

  • I'm not talking about that.

  • I'm talking about your dreams in life.

  • What are your goals? Okay?

  • So using the FORD technique will make you better at small talk.

  • So, now let's look at some specific questions you can ask when you're socializing with somebody

  • who you don't know that well.

  • Okay, so again, the "F" in FORD stands for "family."

  • Family is a great thing to talk about, but remember to keep it light and easy. Okay?

  • You want to talk about things people are comfortable with.

  • So don't ask them any private questions, you know, like:

  • "Oh, is it true so-and-so cheated on so-and-so?"

  • No, no, no. Keep it light, simple, and easy.

  • And also share about your own family, too. Okay?

  • That's also very important.

  • You don't want to sound like the FBI interrogating somebody.

  • You want to have a conversation, so each time they say something, you can say something about yourself.

  • So keep it kind of balanced.

  • Okay, so one easy question you can talk about: "Where are you from originally?"

  • Okay? "Where are you from?

  • Are you from Toronto?

  • Are you from Tokyo?

  • Are you from Istanbul?

  • Where are you from?"

  • This question is great because you can really talk about the difference between your cities and,

  • you know, maybe some of your experiences growing up.

  • Similarly: "Where did you grow up?"

  • A lot of people have moved a lot, so maybe they were born in this city, then they moved

  • to Mexico, and then they moved here.

  • So that's also another interesting question.

  • "Do you still have family there?

  • Do you still have family in Tokyo?

  • Do you still have family in Istanbul?" Okay?

  • "How did you meet your boyfriend?," "How did you meet your girlfriend?,"

  • "How did you meet your husband/your wife/your partner?"

  • Okay? Even your friend.

  • So this is a great question because it makes the other person tell a story.

  • You know, and usually the stories are quite interesting.

  • You know, so this will make the conversation a bit longer which is good.

  • "Do you have any brothers or sisters?,"

  • "Do you come from a big family or a small family?" Okay?

  • This is a great opener, because then people can talk about their cousins, their aunts,

  • their uncles, what it's like to grow up in a big family.

  • Or maybe they grew up in a small family.

  • And you can compare your stories.

  • If you grew up in a small family, maybe you always wondered what it was like to grow up in a big family, or vice versa.

  • So it's a great way to show similarities and differences.

  • "How is your family?"

  • So if you've met the person before, you can ask them this.

  • "How's your family?

  • How are they doing?"

  • If the person has children, people love talking about their kids usually: "How are your children?" Okay?

  • "How are your children doing?

  • How old are your children?"

  • These questions are really good to ask.

  • Finally, some people might not have children or maybe, you know...

  • Maybe they have different types of family.

  • Maybe you're on an elevator with somebody and you see they have a dog.

  • People also love talking about their pets, and pets are family, too, so feel free to ask about:

  • "What's your dog's name?

  • How old's your dog?"

  • You know, all of this... All of these are really good questions to ask.

  • Okay, so now let's look at the "O" which stands for "occupation."

  • Okay, so "O," "occupation."

  • What is occupation?

  • Well, usually when we talk about occupation, we're talking about jobs or careers, or sometimes even education.

  • It's pretty much what you're doing to either make money or, you know, towards a career,

  • although it doesn't always have to be.

  • So, we like to talk about occupation because people know about what they're doing; they

  • know about their job, they know about what they're studying.

  • So it's good because it makes the person comfortable with a comfortable topic.

  • So, again, that's the purpose of small talk.

  • We're trying to keep the person feeling comfortable.

  • Now, the question I like to ask people the most is not: "What is your job?" because sometimes

  • people don't have a job or sometimes they're between jobs.

  • Sometimes...

  • It happened to me once, the person had just lost their job that day, and it was a very

  • awkward, not comfortable discussion after that.

  • So what I prefer to ask people is: "What's," so: "What is"

  • or "What's keeping you busy these days?"

  • This way, this gives the person the freedom to talk about what they really want to talk about.

  • Maybe they have a lot to say about work, maybe they don't have a job so maybe they'd rather

  • talk about a project they're working on or something interesting they're doing with their time.

  • Or, you know, if they're in school maybe they want to talk about their course.

  • So I think this is actually the best small talk question:

  • "What's keeping you busy these days?"

  • And after they, you know, talk about what's keeping them busy, you can ask a follow-up question:

  • "Oh. That's interesting!

  • How did you get involved with that?"

  • Or: "How did you get started in that?"

  • You know, if it's work: "How did you get involved in that

  • with that company?" Okay?

  • So this is a good follow-up question.

  • You can also, if they are talking about their job, you can ask them:

  • "How long have you been in your field?"

  • You know, maybe they've been doing what they're doing for five years or 10 years. Okay?

  • So you can ask more questions about their job.

  • "What's the best part of your job?"

  • Or if they're a student: "What's the best part of, you know, your course?

  • What do you like the best?" Okay?

  • So it's good to get people to talk about what they really like.

  • Okay, this is very, very important: In Western culture, we do not like talking about money.

  • In other cultures, it's okay, but in Western culture, it's considered impolite or a little rude.

  • So, if somebody tells you: "Oh, yes, you know, I'm a doctor," and you really want to know:

  • "Well, how much money do you make?" you cannot ask that.

  • Okay? So no questions on money, no questions on salary.

  • Even if you really want to know, you can't really ask that.

  • So, again: No talk on money or salary.

  • Okay, great.

  • So now let's look at the "R" from FORD, "recreation."

  • Okay, so recreation.

  • When we talk about recreation, what we're really talking about is things we do for fun, usually

  • hobbies, interests, anything you really like to do for fun.

  • So, the key here is when you talk about recreation what you're really trying to do is you're

  • trying to find similarities with the other person.

  • Okay? So, you know, for example, if you like soccer or football,

  • does the other person like that, too?

  • If you really like Game of Thrones and you're, you know, really watching it all the time,

  • does this other person have that similarity?

  • Are they the same?

  • How are you similar?

  • So this is great for really bringing people together.

  • A lot of the times people really like talking about their interests and hobbies, so this

  • can get somebody to open up.

  • Okay, so the question I would ask is: "So, what do you do for fun?" Okay?

  • This leaves it wide open, and the person might say:

  • "Oh, you know, I like sailing. I love watching soccer. I'm a huge soccer fan." Okay?

  • And then you can ask them a bunch of follow-up questions and keep the conversation going.

  • You can ask them: "Do you play any sports?,"

  • "Have you seen any good movies recently, or any good TV shows?"

  • I know in Canada, people really like talking about Netflix, as well as, you know, different TV shows and movies.

  • It comes up a lot in conversation, so, you know, if you're in Canada

  • this is a really good one to use, and I think US and many other places, too.

  • You can also ask another follow-up question:

  • "Oh, you know, you like snowboarding.

  • How did you become interested in that?

  • Tell me the story.

  • How did you become interested in snowboarding?"

  • You can talk about music: "Did you hear Radiohead's new album?

  • Did you hear Drake's new album? Taylor Swift?" Okay?

  • So you can talk about music.

  • There's so many different things you can talk about.

  • One tip about this, though, think about...

  • Remember I said you want to share about yourself, you want to talk about yourself, too?

  • When you talk about recreation, make sure you're not taking over the conversation. Okay?

  • For example, if you love soccer and somebody asks you these questions,

  • make sure you don't keep the focus on soccer for the next hour. Okay?

  • Make sure that there's a...

  • It's a conversation, you're both asking each other questions and, you know, pay attention to the cues.

  • Maybe somebody wants to talk a little bit about something, but not for the whole time. Okay?

  • So when you talk about recreation, it's really good, but also pay attention to what you're saying about yourself.

  • All right, so now the last one is "D."

  • "D" stands for "dreams." Okay?

  • So let's talk a little bit about: What questions can we ask about dreams?

  • Okay, so dreams.

  • When I talk about dreams, what I'm really talking about is motivations and goals.

  • What do you want to do in your life? Okay?

  • So, again, I am not talking about the dreams you have when you sleep.

  • Usually those don't make the greatest small talk.

  • So these are your goals in life. Okay?

  • So, one thing I wanted to say before we get into these questions is small talk can be

  • a great opportunity to learn about other people. Okay?

  • So, I recommend smile during small talk because that will make that connection.

  • Listen, you know, instead of being so focused on stress and:

  • "Oh my god, what if I make a mistake with my English?"

  • Or, you know: "Oh no, there's a silence."

  • Sometimes it's nice just to focus on what the other person is saying.

  • Learn about the other person. Okay?

  • What motivates them?

  • What gets them up in the morning?

  • What is their...?

  • You know, what are their dreams?

  • These can be very interesting things to learn about.

  • So, smile, listen, and learn.

  • Okay, so when we talk about dreams you can talk about short-term dreams or long-term dreams.

  • For example, the summer: "Any plans for the summer?

  • Are you going anywhere this summer?

  • What are you going to do this summer?"

  • So that's kind of a short-term goal or dream.

  • I find people love talking about travel, so I find that when you talk about travel, it

  • can really open up conversation.

  • So: "If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?"

  • You know: "What are your top three countries to visit?

  • Have you been to any countries before?

  • Is this your first trip?"

  • People really like talking about where they want to travel, what they want to see, and what they want to do.

  • It really excites them.

  • You can also talk about, if somebody's been talking about a project that has to do with work,

  • maybe they've been talking about their job, maybe they're a student and they've been talking about the TOEFL or university,

  • or a course they're taking, or maybe...

  • You know, maybe there's just somebody who's been making something, you know, somebody

  • who likes to paint and they've been painting, you know, or taking photos of things.

  • You can ask them about their projects.

  • "What will you do once you finish this project?

  • What will you do once you finish the IELTS?

  • What will you do once you finish your course?

  • What will you do, you know, once you finish this book?" Okay?

  • So asking them about the future is a really good idea for dreams.

  • You know, if somebody talked about how they love watching movies or if they love reading books,