Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

In this episode we’ll improve our English to build relationships in the office using Business English.

When your colleague comes back to the office on Monday morning and they just spent a weekend doing something they love, how can you ask them about it?

Listen in today as Lindsay and Aubrey discuss how you can build that connection by learning about the interests of others.

Ice Fishing

Aubrey shares that a listener sent in a question that they will discuss in today’s episode.

The question is:

“Hi, Lindsay and Michelle! I’ve become a huge fan of your podcast. I’ve recently started following up and found it very useful for day to day communications. By the way, I am a non-native English speaker, born and brought up in India, and I’m living in Chicago. So here’s the question, I had a conversation with my colleague who lives in Minnesota, he is over 50, he started describing how ice fishing works and all the fun activities they do out there. He mentioned some of his friends who are based out of Florida and had never seen snow before that they had visited his place. He went on explaining all those fun things they did, like riding a truck on a frozen lake, ice fishing, staying under the ground in a heated room, etc. It was a lot of fun to hear, especially how his friends freaked out a lot. I wasn’t able to ask appropriate questions or could not engage in a conversation due to my lack of communication skills. It would be great if you guys could bring this up and discuss it. Thank you. I love you guys!”

– Mahesh

Aubrey loves the insightfulness that Mahesh had where she knew that the reason she couldn’t ask was because of her communication skills.

The problem is not what questions to ask because you could easily think of what to ask to better understand the activity.

Lindsay and Aubrey are here to help people like Mahesh in today’s episode.

Out of the many questions that the All Ears English team receive, this one caught Aubrey’s eye because she has grown up ice fishing.

Lindsay has so many questions for Aubrey because she has not experienced this before.

She asked Aubrey if she was ever afraid to fall in the ice, how do they do it, and was it fun.

Aubrey’s family would go to Hebgen lake in Montana and they would go ice fishing before the sun rose.

The ice in the lake was so thick that they would use a tool to drill a hole on the ice called an auger.

She would see inches of ice being drilled before they would see the water which is why she didn’t have to worry about falling through the ice.

How to Ask About Your Colleague’s Weekend And Make That Connection

The way Aubrey told her story about ice fishing with her family is a perfect example where you can start a conversation learning about her childhood.

Stories like this would always be interesting to listen to and of course, would be a fun conversation when you want to make a connection with your colleague using English.

You can ask about their values, nostalgic memories with their family, and activities they did in their childhood.

In this episode, Lindsay and Aubrey share four questions that you can ask to start that conversation and dig even deeper to build better work relationships.

  • How long have you been doing that?

This is a question to ask if someone is sharing a hobby or activity that they allocate a lot of time to.

You are allowing them to share something that they are proud of, especially if they have been doing it for a long time.

If they spend a lot of time doing it then the activity matters to them. This makes a great topic of conversation.

  • What got you started with that?

This is a great follow up question once they answer how long they’ve been doing the hobby that you’re asking about.

You can also learn about what interests they have and what they consider a fun or productive activity during their weekend.

  • Where did you go this weekend? / Where do you usually go on a weekend?

This question is good to start a conversation.

It is always easy and interesting to share your plans on a free day.

You also get to know something about your colleague beyond your workplace.

  • When are you doing it next?

If the person you’re talking to has been doing the hobby often, you can ask this question.

People are often excited to share when they will have a chance to participate in their favorite activity again.


Here is a quick role play from Lindsay and Aubrey.

The scenario is they are friends meeting for coffee and chatting about their weekend.

Aubrey: What did you get up to this weekend?

Lindsay: We actually went spelunking.

Aubrey: Oh that’s crazy! That’s climbing in caves right? I have not done much of that. Where do you go to do that?

Lindsay: Well we usually go to a place near here but we ventured out and explored some caves a couple of hours north.

Aubrey: Have you done it anywhere else?

Lindsay: Yeah. I used to do it back east. It’s really fun but it can definitely be scary. You have to be very prepared and it’s best to go with a guide or someone that has been there before.

Aubrey: How did you get started with that? Have you been doing it since you were a kid?

Lindsay: Yeah. My parents took me when I was really small to a cave with stalagmites and stalactites and I’ve been fascinated with them ever since.

Aubrey: That is awesome! When are you doing it next?

Lindsay: Probably next month when we go to California. There are water caves there, we want to check out.

This is an interesting conversation especially a topic like this where it is not common for someone to do spelunking.

You should be able to ask questions and learn more about their hobby using natural English.


People love to talk about their passions and weekend hobbies!

If you really want to have strong work relationships, do not limit yourself to connecting with your colleagues only about work topics.

In building connections, you need to take the time to get to know your colleagues as people and opening up this conversation topic is a great way to do it.

Especially in business, you won’t be able to get anywhere if you don’t make those connections.

Prioritize your communication skills and continue to improve as much as you can to be able to express yourself well in English.

What hobbies or activities do you do on weekends?

Start a conversation in the comments below with fellow listeners and learn to make that connection in English.

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