Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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Everyday English 1

4.6 Encouraging others

You may be in a discussion where one person sits quietly, saying nothing. You may know the person and know that they have some views on the subject or some experience to share. Or you may not know what they have to contribute, but you’re aware that they’ve not spoken.

The short video below shows different ways that you can encourage someone to speak in a discussion.

Download this video clip.Video player: 13_vid_encouraging_others_master.mp4
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Transcript

NARRATOR
You may be in a discussion where one person sits quietly, saying nothing. You may know the person and know they have some views on the subject or some experience to share. If you have an idea of what they have to say, you can encourage them to talk by addressing them directly, and inviting them to share. For example:
CAROLINE
Alec, tell us about a time you've booked a holiday online.
ALEC
Well, the last time I booked holiday was about three years ago.
CAROLINE
Wow.
ALEX
Three years ago.
CAROLINE
Where did you go?
ALEC
Oh, Morocco.
NARRATOR
You may not know what exactly they have to contribute. But be aware that they haven't already spoken. Again, you can address them directly. Here's an example.
CAROLINE
Alec, you haven't said much about the prices on the high street versus online. What's your opinion on that?
ALEC
Well, I think it's generally worth going to the high street because it's worth it for the experience of seeing the items you're going to buy. You get to pick them up and feel them, so -
CAROLINE
Yes, makes sense. Yeah.
ALEX
I agree.
NARRATOR
You may not want to be so direct about it, in which case there are more subtle ways of encouraging people to speak. For example, you might catch their eye just as you finish what you're saying.
ALEC
Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's much more convenient. Yeah, using the online.
CAROLINE
I think so, yeah.
NARRATOR
Or perhaps you could give a little nod in their direction.
ALEC
Oh, yeah. Definitely.
NARRATOR
Or perhaps open your hands towards them.
ALEC
Mm-hm.
NARRATOR
Or maybe you'll just give them a smile.
ALEC
I agree.
End transcript
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The points made in the video are summarised in the box below.

Ways of encouraging others to speak during a discussion

  • Address them directly and invite them to share their experience. ‘Martha, tell us about your experience with …’.
  • Address them directly and ask what they think. ‘Gary, what do you think about …?’
  • Use less direct, more subtle way of giving them a chance to speak:
    • catch their eye just as you finish what you’re saying
    • give a little nod in their direction
    • open your hand towards them
    • smile towards them.
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