Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you been part of a conversation that has a lot of excitement within it in English?

Do you have a hard time keeping up because it moves fast and goes back and forth a lot?

This is a situation that so many of us find ourselves in, and it can be hard even for natives.

If you find yourself trying to be a part of such conversations and struggling, you are not alone.

We are going to talk about these exciting conversations, how to make sense of them, and how to contribute to them moving forward.

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How Can You Be A Part Of Such Conversations?

Have you ever been in a conversation and had a hard time following along?

You may have things to contribute, but you are struggling to keep up with the people that are speaking in the moment.

Sometimes it can be tricky to listen to multiple people talk because they speak very quickly, and they go back forth all the time.

There are so many different things that people can do in conversation making it tricky to follow along—and often they don’t even realize it.

Sometimes one person will speak for a long time, but other times, people will say one word or a few words and then the next person will talk.

Sometimes it is a mix of both, making it even more complicated to follow along.

How do you keep up with such conversations?

How do you get the main idea of what is being discussed when there’s so much fast talking and back and forth?

How do you try to jump in and contribute?

These are the questions that you may ask yourself, and it does take some preparation.

This is the continuation in our episode where we talk about following along with a fast back and forth conversation.

You will be sure to want to check out as you can find weekly fast group listening quizzes, as well as catch quick conversations that go back and forth.

English Listening Quizzes–Multiple Speakers

Navigating These Fast Conversations

There are conversations that are fast, and then they may also have a lot of back and forth.

This can be tricky because you are not only trying to keep up, but you are also trying to figure out where you can contribute.

You may hear people jumping in and offering their thoughts quickly, and you want to be prepared for such situations.

This takes a couple of things to make you successful, and to ensure that you can be an active participant in such conversations.

1) Skill: It takes skill to follow along with a lot of back and forth. You have to be able to actively listen and be able to keep up with what is being said. Not only that but you want to be thinking of what you can possibly contribute when given the chance.

2) Strategy: You have to think through this conversation happening before you and then find moments of agreement that lead to enthusiasm. You have to think about what moves the conversation forward, and how each of the comments tie together.

If you can think through and use each of these two things in these fast moving conversations, then you can be successful in your contribution.

Why do these things matter?

Why do you need to think through such conversations and use skill and strategy?

1. This helps us focus: You will find yourself paying attention to this one aspect of listening. You are naturally more focused when you know you need to take something out of it and look for your point to jump in.

2. This will naturally lead us to understanding: You will have a better understanding of the conversation if you know where to contribute. You will also understand the topic and what is being discussed if you are able to fully focus and understand the context. You will be able to keep up with the speakers in a natural and effective way.

3. This will show us patterns of why conversations start to quickly move between speakers in conversations: You can get a feel for how the conversation takes place and how it moves back and forth. When there’s that excitement about a shared topic for example, you see how the conversation takes on a life of its own.

If you can keep these things in mind, then you can master such conversations and really work to make them your own.

A Roleplay Of Sorts To Help

Just as we did last time, we are going to look at the breakdown of a conversation.

On the show, we played this as a clip but it can work here as a sort of roleplay to show you how this works.

Check out how this conversation goes, and think about why the conversation moves forward.

How do the comments tie together?

This is a conversation about binge watching a show that you love, and therefore it’s something that can apply to so many of us.

Lindsay, Michelle, and Jessica are specifically talking about watching the next episode in the series.

Lindsay: But the quality of TV shows have gotten that much better too. Like, Orange is the New Black is the first show I ever saw on Netflix, I really started to really watch on Netflix and the writing in that show is so good that I did binge it because I wanted to; it was so good. You know?

Michelle: Yeah (yes).

Lindsay: And that’s the other thing. The quality is better now.

Michelle: There are so many times at the end of the night where I’m like, no, no, no, I can’t…I’m not going to watch the next one, I’m not going to watch the next one. And this is with a lot of shows. Then, you get to the end of it and it’s so like, “Oh, my gosh!” that you just have to. I just watched Dead To Me. You guys…

Jessica: Oh! That is such a good show!

Lindsay: I don’t think I’ve seen that one.

Jessica: With Christina Applegate and the Linda…oh man. Lindsay: Yeah (yes), yeah (yes)! [cross talk]

Michelle: Um, yeah (yes), uh, I love that show, and that was the type of show where something would happen right at the end where you’re like, okay I guess I’m watching this forever, like.

Jessica: Exactly.

Aubrey: Yes, cliffhanger, we’ll watch the next one.

So what happened in this conversation?

Lindsay was explaining a point, and that led to much more because it was an interesting topic.

Eventually Michelle also made a longer comment, and from then on the conversation took on a different tone.

From there on out, it was like rapid fire between the three ladies because they were all throwing in their own thoughts.

Reflecting On Such Conversations

Think about the roleplay that happened and use that as a benchmark for conversations like this that you may be in moving forward.

If you take the time to think this through and really ask yourself what occurred, then it will help you when you’re in that moment.

So we have a couple of questions for you as you think through this conversation.

1. Why does the conversation move forward? The simple answer is because it’s exciting. Everyone in that conversation has experience with the topic, and are therefore all able to contribute. Each one wants to share their opinions and connect, and it is therefore exciting and keeps everyone engaged.

2. How do the comments tie together? MAP it out to help you keep on track here so that you can take something away from this. Let’s take a look at how it would look to map things out.

Lindsay mentions good quality- Michelle shares her thoughts on the quality and makes it personal- then Michelle shares a show that she couldn’t stop watching- Jessica immediately gets excited and says that she loves that show- Lindsay mentions she hasn’t seen it- Jessica share more- and so you can see how the conversation goes on from there.

We don’t have to go through the whole thing, but basically we “geek out” about the things we love.

We get excited to share, and you can see that excitement bubbling up as each of the ladies speaks.

You can see that they even just interject words like “exactly” and “yes”, because they are all on the same page and share the same sorts of views on things.

There are other reasons why conversations move along, but this is one of them that you can likely find very easily– a shared love for something is a great way of connecting.

Try to map out what you are listening to so that you can understand the quick back and forth.

What words sparked someone to take over and contribute? Why did this happen or act as that sort of trigger?

Consider, as always, how you might add to this topic.

What would you say?

You can try to prep ahead of time, and you will learn to think fast on the spot.

You will get used to the fast talking that happens in a conversation.

You will also learn to figure out where your place is to jump in when a conversation like this takes place.


Consider listening for times when the conversation takes on a new energy and everyone contributes.

Why does this happen and is there anything prompting this?

How does it happen?

Take the time to map things out as this will help you moving forward, and ensure that you can be an active contributor in such conversations.

Listen for the specifics and think how you would respond, because that preparation work will help you tremendously when you find yourself in these conversations.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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