Hello guys! Just a quick and silly question. How do you guys go about starting conversations on Skype? It is my understanding that when teaching, we want them to speak more English than us, so what questions do you guys have handy that out partners can answer?
I have found that my best conversations with non-English speakers have occurred when maybe we started out with something basic, like our jobs or the weather or our hobbies, but then that topic naturally flowed into storytelling, sharing our experiences and worldview, and making each other laugh. I think the likelihood of that happening depends on the mood of the conversation, so I try to make our talk feel relaxed and lighthearted so that they feel comfortable opening up and talking about real things, past small talk. (Sidenote: In real life, when first meeting someone, I try to get real right away and find out what they're about, so maybe this has just become natural for me!) Or you can start asking them random questions about their day-to-day life and see if anything interesting comes up that you can dive deeper into!
When starting out with someone new, I think it's always nice to share your language learning journey. A lot of people you talk to will want to tell you how they started learning English, how they've progressed to the point they're at now, and what challenges they're facing or what they hope to do from here. And you can take that opportunity to relate to them and maybe find a shared experience to discuss.
Hope this helps you! :)
I primarily work with tutors, but I would think it's a similar "script" for any language conversation: start with the pleasantries (How are you?/How's the weather?). "What's new?" should open up the conversation, maybe get them talking about work or hobbies. There's always news or current events to discuss (for example, in France, there were regional elections). Or you could just ask if there's something he/she would like to work on specificially.