If you want to jump straight to downloading the conversation topics, you may scroll down to the end of the page. However, I would suggest you still read the first part of the post, which delves into how you can get the most out of your conversation practice.
Here are the best practices:
How to get the most out of your conversation practice?
1. Pick the side you want to speak for
Most topics have two sides to argue on. You can pick either of the side – favor or against – or sometimes just take an entirely different direction. For example, if the discussion topic is ‘should laptops be allowed in classrooms?’ you can argue either in favor of the topic (allow laptops in classrooms) or against it (don’t allow laptops in classrooms).
2. Make a mental note of your regular mistakes few minutes before you start
Few minutes before the conversation begins, make a mental note of your regular 1-2 mistakes you won’t repeat. Even if you’ve to go slow or take other measures to curb these mistakes, do it.
3. Prepare a structure
Take the conversation seriously even if you’re speaking to a friend, because what you do in practice comes out in real situations as well. Prepare before opening your mouth to avoid rambling and frequent pauses. Get your thoughts organized in bullet points in the order you plan to speak. For example, if you’re speaking against allowing laptops in classrooms, following could be a structure for what you want to say:
- Laptops shouldn’t be allowed in classrooms [State what you stand for right in the beginning]
- Laptops distract even if the intention is to just take notes because users invariably drift to internet or offline games
- They also distract those who are not using it
- They also add to our screen-time, which is gathering menacing proportion these days
- Therefore, I believe… [Conclude]
4. Support your argument
Add any statistic, expert opinion, quote, anecdote, or personal experience in support of your assertion (you need to think of them when preparing your structure as mentioned in the previous point). That’s how you strengthen your argument. For example, you can narrate your or someone else’s experience of how distracting use of laptop in the classroom was.
When the other person is speaking, don’t think of what you would say next. Listen. Listen. And listen. If you listen, you would be able to counter his point if you don’t agree with it or build on what he said if you’ve more to say on it. A good response takes cues from what the other person said and reacts to it, and doesn’t get fixated on what you’ve already prepared.
6. Review after the conversation ends
Most people just hang up after finishing the conversation, which isn’t the best way. After the conversation, you should spend few minutes analyzing what went right and what went wrong. Few areas of improvement would be obvious to you, but few can be discovered through feedback from the other person. Identifying your mistakes is gold. Work on them. That’s the fastest way to improve. If you don’t critique your performance and take corrective steps, your communication skills would barely improve even after years of practice.
Recommended posts on related topics:
Few logistical points to note on the topics that follow:
- Whereas most conversation topics are in the form of question (example: Should violent video games be banned?), some are statements (example: Real learning doesn’t happen in a classroom). Few end in three dots (example: If I were invisible for a day…), which means you can take the topic whichever way you want.
- Whatever the topic is, make sure to answer why you’re taking the stand even if it is not explicitly asked. Otherwise, your reply would end in seconds. For example, if you don’t answer ‘why’ for the topic ‘what is the best letter in English alphabet?’, you would finish in a blink.
- Try to have the conversation for at least five minutes, the longer the better.
Without further ado, here are English conversation topics arranged in three categories – beginner, intermediate, and advanced – depending on the difficulty level of the topic. You can either download the topics as a PDF (link at the end of the page) or bookmark this page on your browser to access the topics whenever you want to hold a discussion.
- Should cell phones be banned in classrooms?
- Should laptops be allowed in classrooms?
- Are single-sex schools more effective than co-ed schools?
- Are smartphone and television making children unhealthy, distracted, and irritable?
- Should we play sports that involve animals and make them uncomfortable?
- Should schools do away with uniform?
- Should time on social media sites be limited to an hour a day?
- Should violent video games be banned?
- Should homework in schools be done away with?
- Should animal dissections be banned in schools?
- Should attendance in college be made optional?
- My top-three foods. Why?
- My top-three movies. Why?
- My top-three travel destinations. Why?
- My three best friends. What do you like about them?
- My top-three movie stars. Why?
- My top-three sports persons. Why?
- My top-three sports persons who don’t play my favorite sport. Why?
- My top-three animals. Why?
- Which has been your most memorable vacation?
- What’s the best surprise you’ve received?
- When have you felt the most frightened?
- Which subject in your school or college days you disliked the most? Why?
- What has been your biggest success so far? What efforts you made to pull it off? How it changed your life?
- Which is the best season of the year?
- The most important lesson in life I’ve learnt so far is…
- Who has been the most influential person in your life? Why?
- Summer is the best and worst of times. Why?
- What are the three biggest problems your city faces?
- Three surprising things about me are…
- How do you plan a party?
- What is your dream job? Why?
- If you could have dinner with anyone, who would he/ she be? What ten questions would you ask?
- What is your favorite book? Why?
- Most successful person I know is…
- Most memorable moment of your life
- Worst moment of your life
- Should internet access be limited?
- Have you been bullied? How did you tackle it?
- What foods you’ll never eat? Why?
- What are the three things you’re scared of? Why?
- Movies are providing cues to people to commit crime. Should the movie content be regulated for this?
- Should physical education be compulsory up to High School?
- Should students be graded for their handwriting in schools?
- Should animals be subjected to scientific and commercial tests?
- What impact does social networking sites have on society?
- Is the grading system used in colleges effective?
- Do celebrities have higher chance of getting away with crime than non-celebrities?
- Should nuclear energy be exploited for commercial purpose or abandoned because of associated risks?
- Are humans to blame for certain animal extinctions?
- Should we kill animals for food?
- Is peer pressure harmful or beneficial to individuals?
- Should cigarettes be banned?
- Do celebrities make for bad role models?
- Are credit cards worse than debit cards?
- Should zoos be banned because they keep animals in confinement?
- Should sex education be banned in schools?
- Are we too dependent on computers?
- Does money motivate people more than any other thing in the workplace?
- Is boarding school system better than day-school system?
- Will posting a student’s grades on a notice board motivate him to improve?
- How can bullying and ragging be stopped in schools and colleges?
- Are video games responsible for bad behavior among children?
- Which is better: daydreaming or night-dreaming?
- Is there life after death?
- If you could transform into an animal, which animal would it be and why?
- If you could go into past through a time machine, which era would you like to go into and why?
- Whom would you prefer to date – attractive and popular or intelligent and smart?
- Which is better to have as a pet – cat or dog?
- What is a better measure of success – money or wisdom?
- Is intelligence sufficient to achieve success?
- Is lying OK? If yes, when?
- What human quality do we need more in the world? Why?
- Does media influence how and what we think?
- Real learning doesn’t happen in a classroom.
- Should we be judged by how we dress?
- Should we be judged by how we speak?
- What would you do if you get one million US dollars?
- How would you spend three months on an uninhabited island with no escape? Describe your daily routine.
- Good grades matter.
- What would you do for living if you know you can’t fail in it?
- If I were invisible for a day…
- What are you grateful for?
- Are exams a good way to assess students? What could be other ways?
- Does life exist outside our solar system? Why? Why not?
- Is assassination of a dictator justified?
- How can one become millionaire?
- Are professional athletes overpaid?
- What are three keys to a happy life?
- Are Reality TV shows fixed?
- Is glass half full or half empty for you?
- If you become head of the government, what five steps would you take for the welfare of people?
- What twenty things can you make from snow?
- Three tips you would like to give to others on growing their money.
- If I was in charge of designing school’s curriculum, I would…
- Should religious places remain tax exempt?
- Should drinking age be lowered?
- Is chess a sport?
- Should performance-enhancing drugs be allowed in sports?
- Are standardized tests good or bad for education?
- Freedom of speech should be absolute without any restrictions.
- Citizens who do not vote in elections should be fined.
- Driving age should be lowered to 16.
- Cosmetic surgery should be banned.
- Internet should be censored.
- Beauty contests should be banned.
- Prisoners shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
- Obesity tax should be implemented to control obesity.
- Gambling should be banned.
- Corporal punishment in schools serves a purpose and shouldn’t be stopped.
- Performance by children shouldn’t be allowed on television.
- Should capital punishment be banned?
- Is global warming really an issue or just a hype by elitists?
- Is euthanasia justified?
- Is cloning animals ethical?
- Does God exist?
- Is torture by police justified for national security?
- Are beauty pageants a way to objectify women?
- Should animal safaris in the wild be banned because they’re intrusive?
- Should juveniles be tried and treated as adults?
- Is human cloning justified, and should it be allowed?
- Should companies market their products directly to children?
- Should libraries have banned books?
- Should humans eat to live or live to eat?
- Is it better to be honest and poor or dishonest and rich?
- Do nice people finish last?
- Should we spend on sending people to Mars or to more pressing needs such as eradicating poverty?
- Who would win the battle of the two big cats – tiger and lion?
- Will machines take over humans in 100 years?
- Which of the two – success or failure – teaches you the most?
- Are Batman, Superman, and Spiderman misleading idols?
- What is your biggest worry about your future?
- What is your biggest worry about your country?
- Should companies be allowed to market junk food?
- To err is human. To forgive is divine. Discuss.
- The more we communicate, the less we really say.
- Wisdom is not dependent on age.
- If I ruled the world…
- Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.
- You become the average of your five best friends.
- Would you want to become wise or intelligent?
- What is the best letter in English alphabet?
- Why are humans so interested in understanding the universe?
- Is capitalism the best political and economic system?
- Can renewable energy effectively replace fossil fuels?
- Should guns be easily available to adults for self-defense?
- Should government bailout banks when they face bankruptcy?
- Should dictatorship replace democracy in countries where progress is slow and corruption is significant?
- Advertising is harmful.
- All nations should have nuclear weapons.
- Developed countries should contribute more than developing countries to combat climate change.
- Billions of dollars shouldn’t be spent on Olympics and should better be spent on noble causes.
- Animals have rights.
- Newspapers will be a thing of past in twenty years.
- Bribery for safeguarding national interest is fine.
You can download a PDF version of the above list here: