Conversation strategies: How to start a conversation with a stranger

Episode 1

To start a conversation with a stranger you can:

  1. Talk about things you can see or hear, like the weather or the place you are in.
  • It’s cold tonight.
  • It’s pretty foggy
  • What a beautiful day.
  • There are a lot of people out here tonight.
  • Are que pancakes good here?
  • Is the coffee good here?

     2. Ask general questions.

  • Do you come here a lot?
  • Are you a new student here?
  • Is it your first day of class, too?
  • Are you in the line?
  • Are you here for the class/seminar/conference/festival?

      3. Say your name.

  • By the way, I am Ayleen.
  • By the way, my name’s Chris.

If someone asks you these questions, you can use “Actually” to answer.

The adverb “actually” has different uses:

  • To give new information

A: Do you come here a lot?

B: Yeah, I do, actually.

A: Are you a student in this class?

B: Yeah, I am, actually.

(The new information is “I come here a lot.” Or “I am a student”)

  • To give surprising information

Actually, I kind of like cold weather.

(The surprising information is “I like cold weather.” Most people don’t like the cold.)

  • To correct things people say or think

A:  So, you are Colombian, right?

B: Well, actually, I’m from Perú.

(“Colombian” is not correct. “From Perú” is correct.)


Chris: It’s cold tonight.

Ayleen: Yeah, it really is.

Chris: There are a lot of people here tonight.

Ayleen: I know, it’s very crowded.

Chris: So, do you come here a lot?

Ayleen: No, not really. This is my first day at this gym.

Chris: By the way, my name’s Chris.

Ayleen: Hi Chris, My name’s Ayleen. It’s nice to meet you.

Chris: Nice to meet you, too.

Chris: So, do you come here often?

Ayleen: Yeah, I do, actually

Chris: So, you are American.

Ayleen: Actually, I am from Perú. So, you’re Jamaican.

Chris: Actually, my family’s background is Jamaican but I was born in England.

Listen to this episode here:

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