How to Have Conversations with Native Speakers: 6 Amazing Tips

Man and woman having a conversation to illustrate how to have conversations with native speakers

Intro to Conversations with Native Speakers

Walking up to native speakers and introducing yourself out of the blue is one of the hardest things to do as a language learner.

In fact:

It can be so mentally taxing that, a lot of times, you forget the next step of the conversation: Actually having something to talk about.

Not to worry:

I’ve got your back! By following these tips,  you’ll be well on your way to having meaningful conversations with native speakers.

Ready to add substance and connection to your language learning journey?

Great. Let’s begin!

Tip #1: Use Non-Verbal Communication

More than anything else, non-verbal cues are what distinguish a good conversation from a bad one.

If you’ve ever seen two people really hitting it off from across any room, you can immediately sense their connection.

It doesn’t matter if the actual discussion they’re having is about quantum physics or a debate on the value of the Ernest movies (they’re hilarious, right?) The fact that they establish an instant vibe is evident when observing their body language.

When done correctly, talking to a native speaker allows you to be comfortable in your own skin and project that you’re a confident conversationalist.

A great mentor of mine once told me that the correct way to talk to anyone in a conversation is to have it in your mind that you are already long-time friends with the people you are talking to. That way, there is absolutely no added mental pressure (in your head, you are best pals). This will enable you to talk about anything you want and be more comfortable.

Of course, adopting powerful body language (remember: non-verbals) will determine the level of success of your foreign language conversations.

The key point?

Don’t forget to bring awareness to your body language when it comes to language learning.

Tip #2: Talk About Your Passions

Luca Lampariello a great polyglot, has said in the past: “Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm.” So if you are passionate about something, don’t be afraid to show it.

Now, there is a fine line here — you don’t want to needlessly steer the conversation in the direction of your passions all the time — but if you happen to start to talk about animals or Spanish, and that’s something you’re truly passionate about, don’t be afraid to express yourself to make a powerful connection.

Native speakers are also humans and are looking for other humans who can show their emotions, and passion is one.

The flip side is you need to be willing to listen to and acknowledge their passions as well.

Long story short:

Let your passions guide the conversation naturally.

Tip #3: Maintain a Playground Mentality

Go into any foreign language conversation with a “playground mentality.”

What does that mean?

Essentially, feel free to tell jokes or talk about things you truly enjoy. By using humor, you’ll make yourself comfortable in the conversation and as a result, your new language buddy will feel the same way which is very important.

As long as you show that you don’t take yourself too seriously and that you’re a fun person — no need to keep a glum look on your face like some emo rock star.

Keep this in mind:

Express yourself openly and embody the personality of a free spirit. This will help with making more (and deeper) connections.

Tip #4: Don’t Ask Too Many Questions

While humans in general love to talk about themselves — and the easiest way to do this is by badgering them with a bunch of questions — too much can lead to the conversation feeling like an interrogation.

Instead, after they’ve answered an initial question, feel free to follow that up with a statement.

For example, after you ask them if they have any pets, and they mention they have cats, don’t go right into the question about what their names are. Once you’ve found that out, there’s not a whole lot of places to go with the conversation.

Instead, say something like “I heard that cat lovers are more inclined to be independent than dog lovers” (statement). This will open up your conversation a bit and get them to talk about other things without them feeling like you’re putting them in the interrogation room.

This creates a conversational balance and allows you to share the weight of the interaction with your language partner.  

Tip #5: Powerful Answers (“And Here’s Why”)

When they ask you a bit about yourself, try to provide a bit of context instead of just answering the question directly.

While there’s a fine art of doing this —you need to follow up every answer you provide with a “and here’s why.”  

For example, if they ask you what you like, a good answer is not “I like baseball.” Instead, answer like this: “I like baseball because it reminds me of the time my dad spent playing catch with me in the yard, building our father-son connection.” You shouldn’t need a high language level to give and explain powerful answers about yourself. Notice how providing context (and the reason why) allows you to build meaning into your conversations.

From there, the conversation can go into all sorts of places and you’ve also shown your vulnerability side by opening up a bit.

The most significant relationships in life incorporate vulnerability and real human connections (in any language). 

Tip #6: Develop your intuition 

The art of being intuitive is imperative. It gives you clues from either how your language partner is standing, what they look like, or what they are talking about to make correct assumptions about them.

Developing your intuition takes some practice, but generally speaking, if you’re getting a feeling about something and if it comes from the heart, you’re going to have a better idea of what’s going on by using an educated guess.

For example, if the group is talking about a large number of vacation destinations and not knowing where to go next, suggest that “Sometimes having too many choices can become a problem” 

Not only will you show that you’ve been paying attention this whole time to the conversation, but also that you are an intuitive person with some valuable life skills and knowledge.

Final Thoughts: How to Become a Master Conversationalist in Any Language

Man and woman having a deep conversation at a coffee shop to illustrate the importance of having conversations with native speakers.

To become a master conversationalist and improve your language learning skills, you must incorporate all of the above tips.

Is it easy?

Of course not!

Learning any language takes time, dedication, practice, and consistency. Incorporating these tips is an excellent starting point!

Want more?

Make sure to come back often and read the latest and greatest tips for language acquisition on the Byond Language Blog!

Until then:

Keep learning my friends!

Meet Daniel

Since he was a child, Daniel has been passionate about Social Dynamics. Learn how Daniel got his start as a Language Coach, and why he decided to start this language blog. If you want to send Daniel a quick message, then visit his contact page here.

Leave a Comment