How to keep the conversation going in three words or less

You don’t have to say much to keep the other person talking. In fact, in many cases you can reply using three words or less.

Here are some ways of doing that:

Make a comment

Show surprise at what the other person is saying with “No!” or “Wow!”

Show sympathy at someone’s bad news with “How awful” or “How terrible”.

Show you’re interested with a comment like “That’s incredible” or “Amazing” or “Unbelievable”.

Encourage the other person

If the other person stops talking for a second or so, you can encourage them to keep talking with a phrase like “Go on” or “Oh yeah” or “So what happened next?”

Ask a question

In all the questions below, make sure your voice goes up at the end to show it’s a question.

“Really?” – to show surprise.

“Did you?” – can be used to encourage someone to tell their story.

For example,
“I heard from Pete yesterday.”
“Did you?”
“Yes, he’s been ill for a couple of weeks.”

Over to you

Listen and practise examples of these tips here:

Keep the conversation going. Make a comment

Keep the conversation going. Encourage the other speaker

Keep the conversation going. Ask a question


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