Have better conversations using the FORD method


Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video I am going
to teach you how to be better at conversation and speaking. Okay? So, in this video I’m going to teach you about how
to become better at conversation with a technique. We call the technique
“F-O-R-D” or “FORD”. This technique will really help you if you’re
shy, if when you meet people for the first time you don’t know what to say, if you feel
very uncomfortable at parties or in meetings or any social events. This is a great technique. Even if you’re amazing at socializing, this
video can still really help you even improve more than what you
already can do. So let’s get started. Okay, so the first thing I want to talk about
is we use FORD as a way of small talk. So, what is small talk? Okay? Small talk is the type of conversation we have
with people we don’t know well or strangers. So, you might make small talk with your neighbours,
you might make small talk with your boss, with your colleagues, maybe if you’re, you
know, going to a coffee shop you might make small talk with the store clerk. So, you make small talk with people you don’t
know well and it’s just a way to make people feel comfortable in conversation and
to create a connection with people. A lot of conversation
is small talk. If anyone has ever talked to you about the
weather, sports, you know, all sorts of different topics – these are usually
small talk topics. So, again, you might make small talk at parties,
in elevators, at meetings, even if you’re taking English classes you will
probably make small talk there as well. So, how do we get
good at small talk? What do we talk about when we
don’t know what to talk about? Well, that’s where
FORD comes in. FORD is a technique which will help you know
what to talk about when you really have no idea. So maybe this has
been you before. Okay? Maybe this is you: “What
should I talk about? Ah.” Or, you know, maybe it’s just
a bunch of question marks. “I don’t know what to say.” It’s totally silent.
It’s awkward. So, how can we fix
this situation? Well, FORD stands
for four things. “F” stands for “family”. You can talk about family, and I’m going to
give you some great questions you can use to ask about somebody’s family. “O” stands for
“occupation” or job. I’m going to give you some great questions
about occupation that you can ask somebody you don’t know well to keep
the conversation going. “R” stands for “recreation”, this is like
hobbies, sports, movies, Netflix, TV. Okay? So I’m going to give you some great
questions for hobbies or recreation. And finally, “D”
stands for “dreams”. This is when you ask somebody about their
future goals or, you know, something they want to do. This does not… Dreams does not mean when you go to sleep,
if you have some weird dream and you share it with somebody. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about
your dreams in life. What are your goals? Okay? So using the FORD technique will
make you better at small talk. So, now let’s look at some specific questions you
can ask when you’re socializing with somebody who you don’t know that well. Okay, so again, the “F” in
FORD stands for “family”. Family is a great thing to talk about,
but remember to keep it light and easy. Okay? You want to talk about things
people are comfortable with. So don’t ask them any private
questions, you know, like: “Oh, is it true so-and-so
cheated on so-and-so?” No, no, no. Keep it
light, simple, and easy. And also share about
your own family, too. Okay? That’s also very important. You don’t want to sound like the
FBI interrogating somebody. You want to have a conversation, so each time
they say something, you can say something about yourself. So keep it kind of balanced. Okay, so one easy question you can talk
about: “Where are you from originally?” Okay? “Where are you from? Are you from Toronto? Are you from Tokyo? Are you from Istanbul? Where are you from?” This question is great because you can really
talk about the difference between your cities and, you know, maybe some of
your experiences growing up. Similarly: “Where
did you grow up?” A lot of people have moved a lot, so maybe
they were born in this city, then they moved to Mexico, and then
they moved here. So that’s also another
interesting question. “Do you still have family there? Do you still have
family in Tokyo? Do you still have
family in Istanbul?” Okay? “How did you meet your boyfriend?”,
“How did you meet your girlfriend?”, “How did you meet your
husband/your wife/your partner?” Okay? Even your friend. So this is a great question because it
makes the other person tell a story. You know, and usually the
stories are quite interesting. You know, so this will make the
conversation a bit longer which is good. “Do you have any
brothers or sisters?”, “Do you come from a big
family or a small family?” Okay? This is a great opener, because then people
can talk about their cousins, their aunts, their uncles, what it’s like
to grow up in a big family. Or maybe they grew up
in a small family. And you can compare
your stories. If you grew up in a small family, maybe you
always wondered what it was like to grow up in a big family, or vice versa. So it’s a great way to show
similarities and differences. “How is your family?” So if you’ve met the person
before, you can ask them this. “How’s your family? How are they doing?” If the person has children, people love talking
about their kids usually: “How are your children?” Okay? “How are your children doing? How old are your children?” These questions are
really good to ask. Finally, some people might not have
children or maybe, you know… Maybe they have different
types of family. Maybe you’re on an elevator with
somebody and you see they have a dog. People also love talking about their pets,
and pets are family, too, so feel free to ask about: “What’s
your dog’s name? How old’s your dog?” You know, all of this… All of these are really
good questions to ask. Okay, so now let’s look at the “O”
which stands for “occupation”. Okay, so “O”, “occupation”. What is occupation? Well, usually when we talk about occupation we’re
talking about jobs or careers, or sometimes even education. It’s pretty much what you’re doing to either
make money or, you know, towards a career, although it doesn’t
always have to be. So, we like to talk about occupation because
people know about what they’re doing; they know about their job, they know
about what they’re studying. So it’s good because it makes the person
comfortable with a comfortable topic. So, again, that’s the
purpose of small talk. We’re trying to keep the
person feeling comfortable. Now, the question I like to ask people the most
is not: “What is your job?” because sometimes people don’t have a job or
sometimes they’re between jobs. Sometimes… It happened to me once, the person had just
lost their job that day and it was a very awkward, not comfortable
discussion after that. So what I prefer to ask people
is: “What’s”, so: “What is” or “What’s keeping you
busy these days?” This way this gives the person the freedom
to talk about what they really want to talk about. Maybe they have a lot to say about work, maybe
they don’t have a job so maybe they’d rather talk about a project they’re working on or something
interesting they’re doing with their time. Or, you know, if they’re in school maybe
they want to talk about their course. So I think this is actually
the best small talk question: “What’s keeping you
busy these days?” And after they, you know, talk about what’s keeping
them busy, you can ask a follow-up question: “Oh. That’s interesting! How did you get
involved with that?” Or: “How did you get
started in that?” You know, if it’s work: “How did
you get involved in that…? With that company?” Okay? So this is a good
follow-up question. You can also, if they are talking
about their job, you can ask them: “How long have you
been in your field?” You know, maybe they’ve been doing what
they’re doing for five years or 10 years. Okay? So you can ask more
questions about their job. “What’s the best
part of your job?” Or if they’re a student: “What’s the
best part of, you know, your course? What do you like the best?” Okay? So it’s good to get people to
talk about what they really like. Okay, this is very, very important: In Western
culture we do not like talking about money. In other cultures it’s okay, but in Western culture
it’s considered impolite or a little rude. So, if somebody tells you: “Oh, yes, you know,
I’m a doctor”, and you really want to know: “Well, how much money do you
make?” you cannot ask that. Okay? So no questions on
money, no questions on salary. Even if you really want to know,
you can’t really ask that. So, again: No talk
on money or salary. Okay, great. So now let’s look at the “R”
from FORD, “recreation”. Okay, so recreation. When we talk about recreation what we’re really
talking about is things we do for fun, usually hobbies, interests, anything
you really like to do for fun. So, the key here is when you talk about recreation
what you’re really trying to do is you’re trying to find similarities
with the other person. Okay? So, you know, for example,
if you like soccer or football, does the other person
like that, too? If you really like Game of Thrones and you’re,
you know, really watching it all the time, does this other person
have that similarity? Are they the same? How are you similar? So this is great for really
bringing people together. A lot of the times people really like talking
about their interests and hobbies, so this can get somebody to open up. Okay, so the question I would ask
is: “So, what do you do for fun?” Okay? This leaves it wide open,
and the person might say: “Oh, you know, I like sailing.
I love watching soccer. I’m a huge soccer fan.” Okay? And then you can ask them a bunch of follow-up
questions and keep the conversation going. You can ask them: “Do
you play any sports?”, “Have you seen any good movies
recently or any good TV shows?” I know in Canada people really like talking
about Netflix, as well as, you know, different TV shows and movies. It comes up a lot in conversation, so, you
know, if you’re in Canada this is a really good one to use, and I think
US and many other places, too. You can also ask another
follow-up question: “Oh, you know, you
like snowboarding. How did you become
interested in that? Tell me the story. How did you become
interested in snowboarding?” You can talk about music: “Did
you hear Radiohead’s new album? Did you hear Drake’s new album?
Taylor Swift?” Okay? So you can talk about music. There’s so many different
things you can talk about. One tip about this,
though, think about… Remember I said you want to share about
yourself, you want to talk about yourself, too? When you talk about recreation, make sure
you’re not taking over the conversation. Okay? For example, if you love soccer and somebody
asks you these questions, make sure you don’t keep the focus on soccer
for the next hour. Okay? Make sure that there’s a… It’s a conversation, you’re both asking each
other questions and, you know, pay attention to the cues. Maybe somebody wants to talk a little bit
about something, but not for the whole time. Okay? So when you talk about recreation, it’s really
good, but also pay attention to what you’re saying about yourself. All right, so now the
last one is “D”. “D” stands for “dreams”. Okay? So let’s talk a little bit about: What
questions can we ask about dreams? Okay, so dreams. When I talk about dreams what I’m really
talking about is motivations and goals. What do you want to
do in your life? Okay? So, again, I am not talking about
the dreams you have when you sleep. Usually those don’t make
the greatest small talk. So these are your goals in life. Okay? So, one thing I wanted to say before we get
into these questions is small talk can be a great opportunity to
learn about other people. Okay? So, I recommend smile during small talk
because that will make that connection. Listen, you know, instead of
being so focused on stress and: “Oh my god, what if I make a
mistake with my English?” Or, you know: “Oh no,
there’s a silence.” Sometimes it’s nice just to focus
on what the other person is saying. Learn about the other person. Okay? What motivates them? What gets them up
in the morning? What is their…? You know, what are their dreams? These can be very interesting
things to learn about. So, smile, listen, and learn. Okay, so when we talk about dreams you can talk
about short-term dreams or long-term dreams. For example, the summer:
“Any plans for the summer? Are you going
anywhere this summer? What are you going
to do this summer?” So that’s kind of a
short-term goal or dream. I find people love talking about travel, so
I find that when you talk about travel it can really open up conversation. So: “If you could travel anywhere
in the world, where would you go?” You know: “What are your top
three countries to visit? Have you been to any
countries before? Is this your first trip?” People really like talking about where they
want to travel, what they want to see, and what they want to do. It really excites them. You can also talk about, if somebody’s been
talking about a project that has to do with work, maybe they’ve been talking about their
job, maybe they’re a student and they’ve been talking about the TOEFL or university,
or a course they’re taking, or maybe… You know, maybe there’s just somebody who’s
been making something, you know, somebody who likes to paint and they’ve been painting,
you know, or taking photos of things. You can ask them about
their projects. “What will you do once
you finish this project? What will you do once
you finish the IELTS? What will you do once
you finish your course? What will you do, you know,
once you finish this book?” Okay? So asking them about the future
is a really good idea for dreams. You know, if somebody talked about how they
love watching movies or if they love reading books, you can ask them: “What
do you want to read next? What do you want to watch next?” You know, if somebody’s online
watching a lot of movies, you know: “What’s next in your list
of things to watch?” Okay? So talking about people’s dreams is a really
great way to connect to people, and it will make the conversation more interesting
than just talking about the weather. Okay? So I hope you find… You found this video useful. Again, “FORD” stands for “family”,
“occupation”, “recreation”, and “dreams”. By knowing this, this will make you better
at small talk and you won’t have to think so much about: “Oh no, what do I say?”
because now you have something to say. You can talk about family,
occupation, recreation, and dreams. So it’s very simple, but it’s
something that’s very powerful. Okay? I want to invite you to come visit
our website at www.engvid.com. There you can actually find a quiz where you can
practice some of the English in this video, as well as some of the ideas to make sure you’ve
really understood what you’ve just watched. I hope you also subscribe
to my channel. We have a lot of great resources there for you
on all sorts of different, wonderful topics. So, until next time, take
care and thanks for watching.

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