My name is Emma, and in today's video I am going to teach you how to be better at conversation
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?
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?
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.
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.
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
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?"
"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?"
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?"
"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
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.
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
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?"
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.
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?"
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.
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?"
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."
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?"
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.
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.
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.
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".
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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, you can ask them: "What do you want to read next?
What do you want to watch next?"
You know, if somebody's online watching a lot of movies, you know:
"What's next in your list of things to watch?"
So talking about people's dreams is a really great way to connect to people, and it will
make the conversation more interesting than just talking about the weather.
So I hope you find...
You found this video useful.
Again, "FORD" stands for "family", "occupation", "recreation", and "dreams".
By knowing this, this will make you better at small talk and you won't have to think
so much about: "Oh no, what do I say?" because now you have something to say.
You can talk about family, occupation, recreation, and dreams.
So it's very simple, but it's something that's very powerful.
I want to invite you to come visit our website at www.engvid.com.
There you can actually find a quiz where you can practice some of the English in this video,
as well as some of the ideas to make sure you've really understood what you've just watched.
I hope you also subscribe to my channel.
We have a lot of great resources there for you on all sorts of different, wonderful topics.
So, until next time, take care and thanks for watching.