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How to make conversation in English at parties

What to speak about in English in order to survive the
Christmas or holiday party

21 ready-made conversation questions in English

Kerin English Teacher
Lesson by Kerin

For many of us, it’s holiday party season again!

Yipee!!! some of you may be thinking … Oh f@*k!!!!! I hear others say as the anxiety sets in!

And why would anyone dread* these social get-togethers*?! Well, some of you may just be shy, but for a lot of my students, it’s because you know you’ll need to start and maintain conversations in English ….don’t worry though!

Read this post and I’ll show you what to say in order to survive the Christmas or holiday party. You might even have fun doing it!

MINI GLOSSARY

dread* = worry / anticipate with great apprehension or fear.

get-together*= a meeting. Usually an informal social gathering

Start with some small talk about the holidays

A nice way to warm up the conversation is by keeping it casual and light.

TIP! These questions work well at both the office party and at social gatherings.

Here are 5 conversation questions to keep it easy:

21 conversation questions in English Advanced vocabulary

5 conversation questions about the holidays

1. What are your plans for the holidays?

2. Who do you usually spend Christmas / this time of year with?

3. Do you have any fun Christmas traditions where you are from?

4. What kind of food do you eat for Christmas? / What are the traditional Christmas dishes in your country?

5. Are you making any New Year’s resolutions?

Get to know someone a little better

You may find yourself at a more informal party or get-together, perhaps through friends or neighbours. These questions are great when the atmosphere is less formal and you want to know a little more about the person you’re talking too.

TIP! These questions can be used at any time of year!

11 conversation questions to get to know someone better

1. What’s the best/most interesting thing you did this year?

2. Can you recommend some good restaurants/bars/walks/shops around here? (Choose something you have an interest in)

3. What are you binge-watching right now?

4. Where’s the last place you travelled? What did you do there?

5. What’s your favourite thing to do around here on the weekends?

6. What’s the next trip you have planned?

7. What’s your go-to comfort food?

8. What are the best cheap eats around here?

9. Are you reading any good books right now? I’d love some recommendations.

10. Do you have any podcast suggestions for my commute?

11. Are there any apps on your phone that you can’t live without?

How to handle the office Christmas party in English

The Christmas office party is the perfect chance to get to know your colleagues (and your superiors) better. It’s your opportunity to build relationships on a slightly more personal level.

All of the above questions are great at office parties. 

Remember: DON’T BE A BORE! It’s not the right time to talk about the targets this month, or next month’s budget review or to start complaining about all the things that don’t work properly in your department.

Keep the conversation casual and light and if you talk about work, keep it general

TIP! The five questions below work well for your superiors too

5 Generic conversation questions about work to ask at the holiday party

1. How did you become the/a [job title]?

2. How did you get into [career field] initially? 

3. What surprises you most about your current job?

4. What was your first ever job? 

5. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? And the worst?!

Always be ready to answer your own question

A good conversation depends on both people talking, right? So, as well as preparing questions to ask, you should be prepared to give answers too. Most of the time when you ask a question, you’ll get an answer and then the person is likely to say, “And what about you?”

Be ready to answer your own question!

Have a great time! Be merry

Kerin English Teacher

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