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 even practice conversations seriously if you want to get better at speaking, 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.
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