5 questions to get the conversation going!


Well hi there, E. Let's talkHi, James from www.engvid.com .  

I know what he's saying. He's talking about  today's lesson. What we want to study are - well,  

what I want to introduce you to are five questions  that you can use when you first meet somebody  

to develop a bond, and a bond means sort ofrelationship that you can carry on later on.  

If you - a lot of people will suggest watching  movies for learning how to do conversation, and  

I agree and I've mentioned it in several videosBut let's be honest, what we need is in depth  

involvement. What I mean by that is you need to  immerse yourself in language. And when you're  

immersing yourself in language, you want to do  something like talk to people. Now, the problem  

with talking to people, many students say, is  that you can't really get a good conversation.  

Today's lesson - I'm going to teach you five  questions and opening lines or bridging questions  

that will help you to create natural conversations  which will get people to come back to you.  

So, I'm going to start by coming over here and  explaining how conversations are like essays,  

and do a small comparison before we get to the  questions and what those questions can possibly do  

to help you open up a conversation and  naturally make it flow, alright? So,  

we're not talking about language apps, we're not  talking about movies. They're all - they're good,  

they're great to start off with. But if you don't  get enough natural input from people to know  

the ebb and flow, or how conversation goes, what  pauses mean, which means stop in the conversation,  

you're going to have what we call a stilted  conversation where it seems more like an interview  

or an interrogation where one person asks  questions and the other person says "Yes" or "No",  

but you don't go any further. And without further  ado, or not waiting anymore, let's go to the board  

and start our conversation lesson, shall we? Now, conversations are like essays. Now, a lot of  

you guys are doing essays in school right now, so  you're learning how the five paragraph essay, or  

how to write because you want to go to college or  university in Canada. Or you're writing a business  

letter and you want to sell a product to somebodyNot quite an essay, but you'll get the structure  

that I'm talking about. When you write to someoneespecially an essay, you need an introduction.  

An introduction can be the thesis, the three major  points, and a - sort of a conclusion that leads to  

the body where it sums it up, saying this is my  argument, right? This is what we're looking at  

for our introduction for an essay. When we move  from an introduction to an essay to the body,  

we explore the subject. What that means are  things that we started to talk about here,  

we go in deeper here and try to explain why  this true, why this isn't true. We finally go  

from exploring the subject to the conclusionwhere we say, "Well, this is what I believe,  

because of what I've said.", or "This is how  I've disproved something someone else has said."  

And it motivates the person to follow up, because  if you write a really good essay, or if you're  

doing a really good sales letter, somebody's  going to follow up, meaning they're going to want  

to find out more by contacting you or reading for  themselves. So they get a deeper understanding of  

the subject and/or they understand what you were  writing. You motivate them to learn, basically is  

what I'm saying. That's what we do for essays. So, how does this compare with a conversation?  

Well, when you meet somebody, because with  an essay, if you've - if they've never read  

the topic, you are meeting. The essay is their  introduction, the first time they're meeting the  

subject. When you have conversation, we have  what's called an icebreaker. Icebreakers are  

something we don't have now, but in the old daysthey would actually have frozen ice and they'd  

have to break it into pieces, because they would  make, you know, they'd have an ice bucket at the  

door and whatnot, I can't remember exactly. But  they'd get big ice and they'd have to smash it  

and keep it. It wasn't like today where you can  get ice out of your fridge by pressing a button.  

So, you need an icebreaker, something  to - when we say "break the ice".  

When you don't know someone, it's cold, you  might say. Two people can be frosty or ice-like.  

To break the ice is to warm up to  communication to getting to know each other.  

So, you need a sentence besides, you know, "Hey  baby, how you doin'?" Not a great ice breaker,  

by the way. But something that makes somebodywill open up and turn towards you to say, "Ok,  

hi, hello", or whatever the next thing is. People usually go from an icebreaker to  

open ended questions. You noticehave something in here, I'm going to  

come back to this in a second. But similar to  the essay, they go to open ended questions.  

That's like to explore the subject. Exploring the  subject is getting to know you. Who are you, what  

do you like, what don't you like, who am I, do  we even want to get to know each other better?  

Then we move to conclusion. I mean, I'm lucky I'm  doing videos so I can talk all night long. But  

fortunately, you have a job, you have a place to  go. You have to go home, you have to go to school.  

So, in a conclusion for a conversation, if the  conversation has had a good introduction, you have  

asked good questions to motivate interestwhen you conclude and you get to know a bit,  

you end the conversation. You wrap it upbut in a way that you can talk again later.  

Maybe by email, maybe by Skype or Zoom or maybe on  Facebook, but you'll continue the conversation and  

get to know each other, right? Okay. So far, so good. They're very similar,  

except I added here, bridging questionsWell, what is a bridging question? Well,  

people and essays and books or sales letters  aren't the same. When you're talking to someone,  

and this is where I said a movie or an app  isn't quite the same, it's real life, it's  

happening now. There are things that are going to  happen between your body language, time of day,  

whether we're hungry where we are. That's going  to change that conversation. The speed of it,  

the words coming out. If I'm listening, you  might slow down to make emphasis. It's real.  

So, you can't just go from an introduction  to open ended questions, because,  

you know, "Hi, my name's James, do you want  to go to dinner and get married?" Woah, where  

the hell did that come from? You kind of got to  bridge, and what I mean by bridge is you're here,  

this person's here. You've done your introductions  so you can see each other and wave, but how do  

you get over here so that you can take time to  get to know each other? Bridging questions.  

So, I'm going to give you five questions  that you're going to ask that's going to give  

you the power to be able to get to know someonebut I'm also going to give you the bridging  

questions you should ask first that can lead  from introduction to a question that makes sense,  

so your next question, which is an open ended  question where they won't say yes or no, but  

they'll give you information, will work nicelyneatly, and lead to great conversations. Or,  

sorry, great conclusions - so, for further  conversations. So, if you're ready to explore  

that with me, get ready, and let's go. Okay, so you did all the work to understand  

what or how a conversation, a book or an essay or  a sales letter can be similar and how they match  

up, and I threw in that concept of, you knowlinking something or leading with something,  

yeah? So, we're going to go over to the board and  I'm actually going to give you the five questions  

that I think can generate an amazing conversation  with someone. I've not only done that, I've added  

with that what I call leading questions, something  you will start with to get to that question that  

will develop a beautiful conversation. And - you  don't think I just stopped there - I'm going to  

try and give you some background on why you might  want to use this question or what makes this  

question special. So you're not just going to say,  "I'm going to ask this question in any situation."  

You might want to know if I use this question  if I want to learn this about a person.  

Kind of good, right? Okay, cool. So, let's go to the board and we'll take a look.  

Question number one, okay. Before we - what we  want to ask is, "If you could only eat one meal  

for the rest of your life, what would it be?" Sothat's the question. And we can even go further  

with that question, it would be like, "Where did  you first have that meal? Who made it for you?"  

And get some, you know, we can get a - havelittle bit of fun with it with a person. Because  

food is something we all love. Sothis is a question about having fun.  

Now honestly, you can't walk up to someone and  say, "Hi, my name's change. So, if you could only  

eat one food for the rest of your life, what would  you eat?" They'll look at you and back up and go,  

"Back up, you're crazy, you're crazy!" So, how  do I get in there? Well, imagine walking down  

the street, I see you and I walk up and go, "Hi",  and we're talking a bit, "My name's James. Oh,  

your name is Valerie or Valyeria, yeah, Valyeriagreat." "Hey, are there any good restaurants  

around here?" And she might go "Yeah, down the  street there's a good Italian restaurant. You  

might like it." I go "Really, cool. That sounds  fantastic. I've got a funny question for you. If  

you could only eat one meal for the rest of your  life, what would you eat?" And they might go "Good  

question." As you're thinking about it, you could  ask, "Hey, is that restaurant around here that  

sells this kind of food?" And all of the suddenyou've opened it up for a conversation, see?  

Now, when I'm giving you these leading questionsdon't think that you have to do this with that  

exactly. Think of context. Where are you? You  could be sitting eating dinner with a friend or  

someone you've just met at a party and you're  not going to say to them, "Is there any good  

restaurants", or "Are there any good restaurants  around here?" That's just not paying attention.  

But while you're eating, you could say, "This food  is amazing. Do you enjoy it?" And they might say,  

"Yeah". And you go, "Hey, you know what? If  you could only eat one food -" there you go,  

there's that question. And it's a fun questionthis icebreaker. It gets to get - you know,  

you get to know the person by asking things like,  "Where did you first have it?" Maybe they were on  

vacation. "Who made it for you?" Maybe it was  a family member. So, this is a "getting to know  

you" question. And it's done over a fun way that's  not too invasive, which means it's not too strong.  

Food - we all eat food, we all love  food. You can even change it to,  

"What food could you not eat ever again for the  rest of your life?" Why not? And they might go,  

"Oh, liver! I hate it! Oh, my mom made it, it's  disgusting" and it's a great conversation.  

Question number two, you could say - okayquestion number two is "What was your first job?"  

and you want to know why? Once again, this isfun question. Nobody ever has a great first job,  

well, very few of us have great first jobsSome of us, like I delivered newspapers as my  

first job at 6:00 in the morning. It was coldit was wet. But I learned the value of - ahh,  

see, you got to know about me. Because I told  you about my first job. It wasn't a great job,  

but I learned something from it, orwas able to buy this because of it.  

How do you get there, though? How do you get  there? Because walking up to someone and asking  

about their first job, unless it's a business or  a job interview, is not a good question to ask.  

But we could start off with, you knowlike, "Weather's pretty good, dadada. Hey,  

what do you do for a living?" "Well, I'msalesman." "Well, how do you like your job?"  

Person's going to ask, "I love it!" or "You knowit's okay, it's a job." I go, "Yeah, I know what  

you mean. Remember when we were kids? Remember  your first job?" "Yeah, I sold ice cream."  

Remember I said to you at the beginning, the best  kind of way to get better at conversation is to  

have natural input. These conversations lead  to natural input that you can't just practice  

like, from movie scripts or language apps. You  need to be able to get something that's real,  

that touches us that would naturally touch youAnd notice how we're talking about childhood here,  

and these are fun and light because sometimesyou just want to, as we said, break the ice.  

We've broken the ice with a "Hello", we've led  in with a good question that is not too strong.  

Then we can go for a deeper question  that helps them to reveal themselves  

without feeling that they're forced to. Okay. Question number three, let's go over here.  

"What is a relationship  deal-breaker for you?" Now, this  

changes. This isn't a fun question. This isquestion to find out someone's morals or what they  

feel is morally right or wrong. What they will  tolerate, what they will not tolerate, right? So,  

tolerate means you'll say it's okay. I don't like  it, but it's okay. And if you don't tolerate it,  

you say it's not okay. I will not stand for thisor I won't take it. It's over. So, a deal-breaker  

in a relationship can be do they lie? Do they  cheat - have sex with somebody else? Will they  

say bad things to you? These are things that  you're saying these are the things I stand for  

and I will not let someone do to me, okay? So, a  deal-breaker, because when you break a deal means  

the relationship will be cut  or broken if this happens.  

This also tells you what behavior, even if you're  not a girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife,  

that if you do these behaviors, they won't be your  friend either. So, if they say a deal-breaker is  

someone who is always late, you better be  on time. Whether you're their girlfriend,  

boyfriend, or just whatever. You understandAlright. Because that could be a deal-breaker.  

Now, that's a hefty question. You cannot and  I am telling you, do not walk up after saying,  

"Hi, my name is James. What's a relationship  deal-breaker for you?" Because right away,  

they might be thinking, "But you want to date  me? I don't even know you. Who the hell are you?"  

That could be the first thing going through  their mind, or you might just seem crazy.  

But how would you ever get there? You  could have a casual conversation, like "Hi,  

my name's James", dadada, you're talking. And  you could turn around and say something like,  

"Hey, have you ever had a bad relationship?"  

The answer to that is a yes/no, and I know here  these are not supposed to be yes/no questions,  

but in saying yes or no, if they say they  have had one, you don't have to get too  

personal but you could say, "What was the  deal-breaker in that relationship for you?"  

And now they're answering that question for  you, see? If they say no, they've never had  

a bad relationship, which is unusual, then you  can say, "That's funny. So, what would be a  

deal-breaker for you?" Woah, yep. We went aroundThey say yes, no, we got you, tap, boom. Alright.  

Remember though, I'm joking around, but this isserious question and it's going to lead to someone  

telling you what they morally think is right or  wrong. So, they're going to take it seriously.  

You might want to share - and I should say in  all of these questions. To make the conversation  

continue, you want to share. You want them to  talk, because then you will probably, most likely,  

if they're good conversationalists, ask you,  "What about you? What was your first job?" Or,  

"What food do you think would be the one you'd  want for the rest of your life?" There you go,  

you've created a bond. And then, something like  this, what are deal-breakers. When they ask you  

that question, they're going to be looking at  you and finding out from you, what are important  

issues to you that you would break a relationship  over? So, see, we're having fun in the sun,  

but now we're moving down to serious stuff that  you can actually use in real life situations.  

Next, question number four,  "Would you want to live forever?"  

Now, I asked this question just now and  you might be thinking to yourself, "Oh,  

I've never thought about that. Hm, that tells  me a lot about you." People with imagination,  

creativity - I'm not saying it's a bad thingbut a lot of people, if they think "If I could  

live forever..." it's like "Why would you live  forever?" These are philosophical questions,  

so it gives you insight to somebody. If they  said, "Yeah, I do, because I want to drink and  

party all the time!" it tells you yep, that's  all you need to know. Right? That'll give you  

information whether or not you want to go deeper  into a friendship with this individual. And you  

might find out something really deep about themlike they want to find out how life evolves on the  

planet and where it goes from there, and so onAnd you're like "Woah, I didn't see that coming!"  

but it gives you deep insight into them. So, how do you get into a question like that  

without, you know, how do you start there? You  might want to say something simple like this,  

"If you had an unlimited amount of time to learn  a skill, what would you want to learn?" Notice  

this is not the same as living forever. When  you're saying this one, you're saying "Hey,  

what would you want to do if you couldlike, if you had enough time to do it?"  

Because we all have jobs and relationships and  obligations, but I'm saying in that question,  

the lead in question, well, if you had  the time, what would you want to learn?  

Play guitar? They might say, "Yeah man, play  guitar, do some art, and I would like to travel  

to Mars!" And then you go, "Okay, now, what  if you could live forever, what would you do?"  

"Oh dude, you know what I want?" And all of the  sudden, you've got them excited and you're getting  

insight into who they are. Maybe they're artistsTheir job might not be that way, but the way they  

think is that way. Or maybe they'd want to, you  know, explore. They're explorers, you don't know.  

If we have forever, it changes what you might  want to do in life versus when you're limited  

and you have to make money. So, this is a great  way to get insight into people. Alright?  

Now, question number five. "Who is your celebrity  crush?" A crush - okay, you may not know,  

but a crush is when you have like, romantic  feelings towards someone. Like, okay, I know. He's  

getting older, sorry, Tom Cruise. There was a time  you was the man. I don't know who the man is today  

anymore. But there was a time, Tom Cruise was  considered like, the heartthrob. People loved him,  

and many women loved him because he was  dangerous. He was adventurous. Some people  

liked Harrison Ford because he was mature, like  as in Indiana Jones. Intelligence and bravery.  

Some people had a crush on Arnold Schwarzeneggerbecause Mr. Schwarzenegger was just very huge.  

You know, he had the muscles. Anyway. So, that told you a lot about what they found  

attractive. So, when someone tells you their  celebrity crush is somebody, they're telling  

you I find this attractive in a man or a womanAnd you've got to go, "Okay, how do I use that?"  

I told you you're not here just to  learn English. It's a vehicle, okay.  

So, how do you go there? Because that's kind  of like a funny question to ask someone you've  

just met. But something that's not so  funny and is very interesting is, "Hey,  

is there any famous person you'd like to meet?"  Most people have somebody that they want to meet  

in life. Now, that's not a sexual question. Likeyou might want to say - a person might want to say  

Barack Obama. Maybe not him, maybe Boris YeltsinHe's dead - no, I'm joking. He's a Russian leader.  

I don't know. Who is your - like, Thor. Chris  Hemsworth. Ah, that's the new heartthrob, forgot.  

They might want to meet him. But it doesn't mean  they have a crush on him. They might want to  

meet him because he's got a great body and they  want to look like him. But you can lead for that  

question into something about celebrity crushbecause they're about the same. They're parallel.  

You're talking about famous people, ones  you want to meet because they're famous and  

interesting. And then the other one because  maybe you're physically attracted to them.  

That one leads to, as I said, attraction. Now, somebody helped me coin this phrase, I'm  

going to use it. If you master questions like this  - and now remember, I didn't tell you you had to  

use exactly this. I'm giving you ideas that will  give you the time to sit down, maybe write out,  

come up with your own lead in questions and  you use these questions. You can get insight,  

attraction. You can get morality. You  can get fun with these five questions  

while talking to someone. And they can  go from five minutes to five hours.  

Now, I'm going to call you guys future  native speakers. Why? Because if you  

master questions like this, you will  become a native speaker. Because this  

is the kind of thing we would ask each otherIn fact, I'll tell you the truth. Most people  

don't ask questions like this. These are questions  that will put you above that so even though your  

English - English isn't your first language, it  will make it seem like it's your first language.  

And that's a power we all want to have in the  end, right? The ability to communicate well  

in any situation with any person. So, hope you've had fun with that. Before you go,  

I've got a couple of things. Because we always  have a bonus, that you've stuck around to do this,  

I'm going to give you the bonus questionThen we'll talk about your homework, okay?  

Bonus question number one. I think it's funny  because you're going to say "What's your name?"  

is like, of course. Everybody asks people their  name. I go yeah, but we are - as I said, future  

native English speakers, and you're going to do  something different. You're going to say, "Hey,  

so what's your name?" And they're going to say "My  name is Mr. E." And you're going to say, "Sorry,  

so that's Mr. E, right?" And they go, "Yes, Mr.  E." Then you'll say, "So, Mr. E, I was wondering,  

are there any good -" what did I do? I used the  name three times. One, I asked them to say it so  

I'd listen to it. Then I repeated it back to them  to make sure I said it to get it in my memory.  

And then I used it right way in a sentence to  help it stay in my head. Why is this important?  

You know this is true and I'm going to tell you  right now. You've been in a conversation. Somebody  

said their name, said "Hi, my name is James." And  their name dropped to the floor and you forgot it.  

And you spent the next ten to fifteen minutes  trying to remember their name. Not listening  

to what they said, because you were afraid you  wouldn't say their name. They would say - so  

you'd have to introduce them and you wouldn't know  it. And that's embarrassing. It's happened to me;  

it happens to everyone. So, by trying to get  their name said at least three times right  

at the beginning of the conversation, and of  course, try to say it again in the conversation,  

you'll find you will remember their name so  you can focus on what they're saying to you.  

It's a small hint but a big one. Try it out. Now, here's a question you should not ask, okay?  

Do not ask people any body-related questionsIf you say to somebody, "Hey, are those real?"  

Don't ask, okay? Body-related questions  are things that are personal to people and  

unless you know them well, even in beginning  conversations, they don't want you to ask.  

One question you should not ask a lady, and this  is a great example of body-related question is,  

"Are you pregnant?" or "When are you due?"  Don't ask that question, don't ask it.  

There are several reasons why a woman mighta woman's body might have changed. Don't ask  

that question, or any other question about - you  look at the guy's hair, you go, "Is that real,  

or is that a wig?" What do they call them? I  can't remember, it's wigs? A man's wig - men  

wear toupees. It's been a long time, nobody  wears them anymore. They shave their head off,  

right? So, don't ask those questions about  body-related issues unless you really know  

them or you're family. Don't, even then. If it  has to come it, it will come up in its own way.  

So, for the last two questions. "What is your  name?", and the rule there is trying it three  

times. Ask their name, repeat their name back to  them, then ask the next question starting with  

their name. And by the way, we all love our namesso it's not like they're going to get upset by you  

saying it. And repeat it as many times you can  in the conversation in a natural way so you don't  

forget it, so you can focus on the conversationDon't ask any body-related questions.  

Okay? This is a North American thing. I don't  know every culture in the world. Maybe there are  

cultures where it's okay to ask certain thingsIn North American cultures or Western cultures,  

generally it's not allowed or not acceptableEspecially beginning conversations.  

And what's our homework? Well, you know you've  got to have homework. You know you've gotta  

have homework with me, alright? Because I love  these conversations that we have. They're one  

sided because I do all the talking and you do the  listening, but I want you to practice this stuff,  

not just take it from me. You knowI say it to you and you believe it.  

Go out in the real world, come up with your  own lead in questions. And in order to do that,  

you've got to understand what the question is your  asking, or what question to want to ask next.  

So, I have three questions here. Each question  is worth 1000 points because underneath the  

comments here, you're going to write in the  answer, whether you think it's morals or fun,  

insight/attraction, ask or don't ask. And  people will vote on it, and every thumbs up  

you get - if it's on YouTube, you're going to get  1000 points. If it's on www.engvid.com , they'll  

make a comment in the comment section thereSo, make sure you go to www.engvid.com , we'll  

talk more about that in a second. And your three questions are the following.  

Remember I told you each question and I kind of  went over and said this question gives you this  

into somebody. Is it insight? It tells you about  their morals. I want to see how well you were  

listening, because a conversation is two partsIt's listening as well as speaking. So, if you  

listened, you know the answer to this. This is  silly, silly question. They are silly questions.  

If you weren't, watch the video again, listen  carefully because I explain each one to you.  

So, the first question we want to do for your  homework, and that's in the comments below us:  

What is a relationship deal-breaker for you. Is  this a question based on finding out somebody's  

morals, or is this a fun question? Just getting  to know each other? Think about it carefully,  

don't forget to write in the comments section. Who is your celebrity crush? Does this give you  

insight into the person, or is it finding out  about their attraction, what makes them attracted  

to a person, or what is attractive to them? And the third one is, is this a question you  

should ask? Are you pregnant? Should you ask this  question, or you don't ask this question? Okay?  

Listen, I had a lot of fun. And I've run out of  questions for you, but I'm sure you have some  

for me. Leave them in the comment section and  before you go there, I want you go to go a very  

special place where you can do a quiz and find  out more about the questions that are there.  

You go to www.engvid.com , do the questions  there. Meet some wonderful teachers, and if  

you liked this lesson and you learned anything  from it. You were like, "Wow, I didn't know that,  

that was interesting." Subscribe. But  don't just subscribe, ring the bell.  

There's a little bell on - by the  subscription bar. Ring that bell,  

because if you ring that bell there, you add itany new video I come with will come up for you.  

And that's something that will save you time and  you'll get to learn from me a little bit more.  

Anyway, it's been fun being with you. You  have a great day, evening, or afternoon,  

wherever you are. And we'll see each other  again soon. Ciao!

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