Open-Ended Questions for Social Conversation (A Speaking Ancillary)
Suitable for: Secondary, Young Adult, Adult; Beginning to Advanced Language Learners
Why is Social Conversation Important?
In today’s world (including TV, other media, and the Internet), “small talk” goes beyond polite, uninvolved exchanges about weather, sports, or local events. It may become “short talk”—brief conversations about personal matters, opinions, feelings, and values. Here are some advantages to becoming a skillful “short talker” in everyday life, school, and work situations:
In telling our thoughts, feelings, and opinions, we get to learn or clarify what we really believe—for ourselves.
In hearing and learning to understand what others know, feel, or think, we learn about human nature and the world.
“Short talk” can be an effective way to get to know people and begin possible friendships—to “network” in school, work, and life.
Good talkers and listeners are often more popular or more successful in life than people that are shy, silent, or very polite in social interaction.
“Open-ended” questions make terse, mechanical, uninvolved responses impossible. They tend to elicit mindful, meaningful, informative answers. Therefore, they’re most useful in stimulating, interesting, and communicative exchanges.
A Speaking Deck that contains 72 unnumbered cards. On each is a thought provoking, Open-Ended Question to stimulate engaging and effective social conversation. They can be used in any order. About half ask for thoughts and feelings about language and communication. Others ask provocative questions about personal preferences, life philosophy, values, opinions, and other meaningful topics.
As you use the cards, you may think of even better questions for thoughtful, stimulating conversation. Add these—each on a separate card to the deck.
A reproducible question list appears in the accompanying 20-page instruction book, which gives suggestions for nine (9) communicative activities involving and beyond the cards. They are: