Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

People think of salespeople as being ‘good at talking‘. While this is true in some respects, the way of communicating goes against what is needed on the IELTS Speaking Exam.

So, today, we’ll look at strategies that don’t work, and show you what you should say instead.

Feature #1: Listing main features

IELTS Question: Tell me about the house or apartment you live in now.

Here is an example of the salesman approach:

I’ll tell you what’s good about it: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, detached garage. 

While this may work to show a client the benefits of something in a clear, concise manner, this is not fluent communication. It is too short, the vocab. is a bit boring, and the grammar is too simple.

A better answer would be:

Well, my current living situation is quite comfortable. It’s actually too roomy for me, to be honest, as I live alone. My flat has 3 bedrooms, which are all pretty large, and 2 full bathrooms, and a detached garage. The main issue is the upkeep– I absolutely loathe cleaning. The garage is super nice to have, though, so I don’t have to wash my car as often.

Feature #2: Saying ‘you’

When selling anything, the seller wants to engage the buyer. This can be accomplished through the use of the pronoun ‘you’. However, addressing the examiner directly is inappropriate on the IELTS Speaking Exam, unless you need to ask for clarification about a question.


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IELTS Question: Describe a modern invention that has greatly impacted society.

Here is an example of the salesman approach:

I’ll tell you what, the internet. Fast, convenient, entertaining. It has everything you need. I’m sure you use it all the time, watching movies, talking to your friends. I’d imagine you are on there every night, am I right?

Again, the grammar is too simple, the descriptions too short and direct. Plus, it is, as noted previously, inappropriate to address the examiner directly, especially to ask questions like that while you answer.

A better answer would be:

I’m pretty sure everyone would answer computers, or the internet, for this question, as the ubiquity and control it has over society cannot be denied. I’m not viewing it through rose-colored glasses though; I realize it is both a blessing and a curse. I mean, sure, we have greater access to information that can aid us in our understanding and knowledge, but, *let’s be honest, the majority of people aren’t using it to be better individuals. 

*Although this phrase personalizes it by using ‘let us’, it is a natural cohesive feature and appropriate in your speaking answers.

How would you answer today’s questions?

Share your ideas in the comments section below!


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