English Conversation Training (Workout #1)

Lesson Overview

Lesson Summary 

Natural English pronunciation takes practice. And your English Coach is here with your Conversation Workout! ⚡️ 15 minutes of solid conversation training – to help you sound more natural when you introduce yourself in English!

Get more conversation training here:

Video Transcript
Section 1
Well hey there this is Emma from mmmEnglish! How are you? Over the past few months, many of you have written to me in the comments below my videos asking for help with your English speaking skills. You want to sound more natural, more casual, more like a native English speaker, right? Some of you also like my not so Australian, Australian accent and you want to practise speaking like me.

Well today you’re in luck because in this lesson, we’re gonna have some fun doing exactly that! Okay! Welcome to your first English Conversation Workout!

This is an intensive ‘repeat after me’ style lesson that’s going to work those conversation muscles. It’s gonna help you to strengthen those speaking skills and your listening skills at the same time. We’re gonna do a lot of speaking practice together in a short space of time so you need to be ready to participate. You’ve got to join in and by the end of the workout today, you’re gonna feel more confident and you’re gonna sound more natural like a native English speaker when you use these common conversation expressions.

Today’s workout will focus on greetings and introductions. We’re going to practise some really common questions that you can askor that you might be asked in a very casual and very common English conversation.

Before we get started, I want to make sure that you’re in a place where you feel comfortable talking at your normal speaking volume. And if you’re able to avoid using your headphones, then do that too. That’s so that you can hear me but also you can hear yourself clearly too.

Now this workout is really simple you don’t need to think much, you just need to listen and repeat after me. We’re gonna practise four sets of really simple English phrases. Now these are gonna be phrases that you already know and you’ve probably read them or you’ve heard them during a casual conversation with native speakers. But we’re going to focus on your pronunciation and your expression today, okay? So you’ll practise listening and then saying these questions just like native speakers do with contractions, with linking and you know, we’ll play around a little with word stress as well. So get ready to practise out loud guys. It’s workout time!

So when we meet with someone, whether it’s someone we already know or someone we’re just meeting for the first time, we almost always ask how they are, right? So for our first set, we’re gonna practise some simple phrases that all mean the same thing.

How are you?

So here we go.

  • Hi Tom, how are you?

Good! So notice how it’s like just one big word there. Do it again.

  • Hi Tom, how are you?

Last one. Hi Tom, how are you?

Okay, now let’s change the emphasis a little here.

  • Hi Brooke! How are you?

So really stretch out that ‘and’ sound. Doing this helps to sound really interested in the answer so if you know the person well but you haven’t really seen them for a while then using this intonation is great okay because it shows that you really care.

Alright let’s try this one now.

  • Hey Steve, how you doing?

So notice that we’ve dropped the verb ‘be’ here and this is something that’s really common in spoken English. Especially with really common phrases, frequently used phrases like these ones.

  • Hey Steve, how you doing?

All right, so now let’s switch out ‘doing’ with ‘going’ but you’ll notice there’s a couple of other changes when we do that.

  • Hey Angelina, how’s it going?

So you’ll hear native English speakers say ‘goin’, ‘going’.. Whatever. So just use which one is the most comfortable for you.

  • Hey Angelina, how’s it going?

And for the last one, something super, super casual.

  • Hey mate, what’s happening?

In spoken English, it’s really really common to hear ‘happening’ reduced down to just two syllables but it is especially common in this expression, okay? Now it’s still correct to say ‘happening’, “What’s happening?” but it just sounds more relaxed and more friendly when you reduce it down to happenin’. And of course, ‘mate’ is used to refer to a friend in Australia and it’s also really common in England. So you could replace it with ‘dude’ or ‘man’ or ‘guys’ or whatever but it’s the same, same kind of expression.

  • Hey mate, what’s happening?

Awesome work! Now there are a lot of different combinations for greetings in English and from what we just practised now, you would have noticed that there’s a lot of flexibility in spoken English, okay? So try not to worry too much about perfection. Native speakers really don’t worry about perfection when it comes to introductions, okay? You don’t have to be perfect, grammatically speaking.

Okay, let’s keep going, we’re just warming up.

What are you doing?

When we’re speaking with friends or even colleagues at work, we can use this expression to find out what’s happening right now, but we often use it to find out what plans are in the future, what someone’s plans are.

So it’s a little question that can start a conversation or a really useful one to help you keep a conversation going.

Now in the next few phrases that we practise, we’re going to begin each question with ‘so’ because it helps to give the listener a clue that you’re going to say something or you’re going to ask something so it introduces you.

And I also want you to listen out for the stressed words and the way that we change the focus of the question by stressing certain words.

Listen out for ‘what’re you’ instead of ‘what are you’. So this is the contracted form ‘what are you’.

  • So, what are you doing later on?

Now can you hear that flap ‘T’ there? It sounds more like a ‘D’. ‘Whatta’, ‘Whatta‘ , ‘Whatta’ and then again ‘later‘ , ‘later’. This is really really common in Australian and American English accents.

And a quick note about ‘later on’, okay? You can assume that it means later on in that same day if there’s no extra information but you’ll also hear people using it with longer time references as well. Later on in the week, later on in the year. Okay, so it’s not a specific point in time but it’s just in the future at some point.

  • So what are you doing later on?

Great stuff!

  • So what are you doing tomorrow?

Now push the stress, transfer the stress onto ‘you’ okay? We want to emphasise who we’re talking to in a group.

  • So what are you doing tomorrow?
  • So what are you doing on the weekend?

And now let’s shift our emphasis back to the weekend, away from you.

So what are you doing on the weekend?

Fantastic! Nice work with the stress.

Alright, last set now. So what are you guys doing over summer?

And again let’s move the stress back to the subject: You guys.

  • So what are you guys doing over the summer?

Top stuff! Let’s keep going.

What are you up to?

Okay so this phrase is really similar to “What are you doing?” but it’s even more natural and common for native speakers to ask a question this way.

So see if you can get “What are you up to?” down to just “What are you up to?”

Are you ready to give it a go?

  • What are you up to?

Brilliant! Alright, let’s give this question a little bit more focus.

  • So, what are you up to today?

And now shift that focus to the person that you’re talking to.

  • So what are you up to today?

Great! Now let’s add another prompting question. So we could say, “What are you up to tonight? Busy?”
So we’ve dropped the structure of the question there in the second question and we’re using only intonation to signal that it’s a question.

And that’s quite common in informal spoken English.

  • What are you up to tonight? Busy?

Now if we want to shift the focus on to the person who we’re talking to we can say:

  • What are you up to tonight? Busy?
  • So what are you up to for the weekend? Got any plans?

Excellent! And last time.

  • So what are you up to for the weekend? Got any plans?

This one is definitely one of the most common small talk questions that you just hear all the time. In fact, I was just talking to my mum earlier today on the phone and we almost always start our conversation by chatting about the weather because we live in different cities and the weather often shapes our mood and it can affect our day so asking a question about the weather, it helps to show interest in someone especially if you’re far away from each other.

Now there are different ways to ask about the weather, lots of them but we’re gonna focus on some of the most common and the most natural sounding ways of asking about the weather in English.

And one of the best ways to do that is to add an -ING verb to talk about the weather as if it was feeling or doing something. It adds a little bit of personalityand that’s what we’re gonna practise right now. So are you ready?

What’s the weather doing?

Notice that I’m contracting and linking ‘what’s the’, ‘what is the’ into ‘what’s the’.

  • What’s the weather doing?

Perfect! So now it’s time to add some time markers.

  • What’s the weather doing tomorrow?

And let’s add some additional words as well to make our sentence more interesting.

  • Seen what the weather’s doing tomorrow?

Notice again that we’ve dropped the standard question structure here and it’s common in English, in informal conversations just to dropthe structure of a question and just use intonation to signal it.

  • Know what the weather’s doing tomorrow?
  • Heard what the weather’s doing tomorrow?

Our intonation is going up to signal the question. So when you write or you use formal language, you definitely should use the full structure.

  • Have you seen what the weather is doing tomorrow?

But in informal spoken English, it’s really, really common to just drop it completely.

Wonderful work guys so let’s change it up a little now. We want to mix this sentence up.

  • What’s the weather looking like over the weekend?
  • What’s the weather like over the weekend?
  • What’s the weather like over the weekend? Any good?

So this question is “Is it any good?” or “Does it look any good?”

  • What’s the weather like on the weekend? Any good?
  • What’s the weather doing on the weekend? Any good?

What a workout guys! Well done for making it all the way through to the very, very end.

Let’s just get something clear here, I did not make this lesson for you to watch it once and then walk away and forget about it. This is your training okay? You need to come back and practise with me often, alright? As much as you can so save it to a playlist along with some of my imitation lessons for your full mouth daily workout okay?

If you want to sound like a native English speaker, you’ve got to get comfortable using these contractions and reductions just like we’ve practised all the way through this lesson.

Now I’m curious to hear what you thought about our first English Conversation Workout here at mmmEnglish. Was it helpful for you to practise this way? Do you want me to make more lessons like this about anything in particular? Let me know by liking the video and leaving a comment below.

You can definitely, definitely, definitely keep practising with me right now, right here in either of these two lessons and I’ll see you in there. Bye for now!

Links mentioned in the video

Related videos

  • Common English Phases to Keep Your Conversation Going!
    Common English Phases to Keep Your Conversation Going!

  • Australian English Conversation Practice! Slang expressions I use everyday
    Australian English Conversation Practice! Slang expressions I use everyday

  • Small Talk Tip – How To Introduce Yourself To Someone New!
    Small Talk Tip – How To Introduce Yourself To Someone New!