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

Do you ever get stuck when you want to transition to a new topic in a conversation? 

How can you make sure everyone has had a chance to share before you switch?

Switching to a new topic without awkward pauses is a vital conversation skill.

Today, get three winning ways to move to a new topic.

How does Lindsay rate her conversation skills?

Lindsay spent time recently with family at a wedding. 

She was able to meet new people and reconnect with family members she hadn’t seen in some time.

Aubrey asks Lindsay if she was able to easily switch topics when she was talking to people at the wedding. 

Lindsay says she was able to do that well and considers herself a good conversationalist. 

A vital skill

Being able to transition to different topics is a necessary skill. 

It is a very subtle art to do this without awkward pauses when you’re talking to someone. 

If you get it wrong, you can make the person you’re talking to feel you’re distracted or not really interested. 

Nothing says connection like switching topics smoothly. 

In episode AEE 2096: Nothing Says Connection Like a Relevant Expression, Michelle and Lindsay talk about the phrase ‘nothing says.’

This is a very good phrase to add to your vocabulary arsenal to keep building and creating good connections. 

Today’s episode is inspired by a listener’s question. 

Today’s question

Hi Lindsay! This is Asley. 

I’d like to ask you how to switch to a different topic. When I bring up certain topics I often feel it’s too sudden. 

Could you please teach me certain phrases so I can change topics smoothly? I hope my question will help you make an amazing episode. 

By the way, I’m a university student and I live in Japan. The All Ears English podcast is so popular here in Japan and I always see a lot of English learners enjoying listening to it. 

Once I was researching podcasts for studying English, I found out All Ears English is the most effective one. That was the moment I found you guys and here I am. 

Thank you for making such a great podcast!


Before the switch

Asley sent an excellent question. 

It can be daunting or intimidating to switch topics.

There is a possibility that it may feel abrupt if you don’t do it properly. 

Lindsay and Aubrey are going to share phrases that will help you switch topics smoothly during a conversation.

These will help the transition feel and sound natural. 

Pro tip

Be sure to let everyone share about the current topic before transitioning to something new. 

If you neglect to do this, the move to a new topic may feel too sudden. 

It can also prevent others from sharing their opinion or a story.

This requires practice because you have to be patient and let others give their thoughts on the current topic. 

You might get excited to switch and cut someone off. 

Even if it’s not your intention to interrupt, it can be perceived that way. 

Take the time to let the conversation run it’s course.

Switch when it feels like the person you’re talking to has given their complete thoughts. 

Phrases to use for switching topics smoothly 

There are native, natural phrases that can be used to introduce a transition.

These will make sure you switch topics smoothly and not break the connection in a conversation. 

#1: Did you hear…?

When you use this phrase, you can finish the question with an interesting topic.

It can be something you heard on the news or the latest thing you learned on a podcast. 

With either answer, you’ll get to initiate a new topic and start a new conversation.

If they heard about the topic, they will give their own take on it.

If they haven’t heard about it, you can share what it’s about and see if it piques their interest. 

It’s best to mention a topic that will interest most people and stay away from niche topics. 

Try to bring up something that would be interesting for the group or person you’re talking to. 

You can talk about community news or general political issues. 


Did you hear about the new dog park opening up the road? 

Did you hear that the Johnsons are moving?

#2: Oh hey…/ Oh by the way…

This is a simple, quick and natural-sounding transition. 

It helps in preventing a stark or abrupt change of topic. 

This is a more casual approach. 

It can be a question about a hobby, or you can introduce an interesting fact. 

This helps your speech sound spontaneous, rather than robotic or rehearsed.


Oh hey, did you run that marathon you were training for? 

Oh by the way, how was your camping trip?

#3: I’ve been meaning to ask you…

This can be followed by anything. 

This is the same vibe as making a spontaneous transition to a new topic by asking the opinion or insight of the person you’re talking to. 

You can ask them for a recommendation, a favor, or their take on a current event. 

It also sounds casual and lighthearted.

With this phrase, those you’re speaking to will feel trusted and respected because it’s clear you value their opinion.


I’ve been meaning to ask you, where did you take those waterfall pictures you posted on Instagram? 

I’ve been meaning to ask you, do you have a pediatrician you recommend? 


Here is a quick roleplay with these phrases used in a conversation. 

In this scenario, Lindsay and Aubrey are chatting in the park. 

Aubrey: It was a pretty fun trip though. I’d love to go back. 

Lindsay: Oh by the way, how’s the new school going for your kids? 

Aubrey: Good! They really love it. It’s a bit of a drive but smaller classes, which is nice. 

Lindsay: Glad to hear it. How’s the administration? 

Aubrey: It seems great. They’re really supportive, good communication, and no problems so far. Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you, have you found a good Thai restaurant? 

Lindsay: Yes! There’s a good one near our house. I’ll text it to you. Get the panang curry.

Aubrey: That sounds amazing! Do they have mango and sticky rice? I’ve been craving it. 

Lindsay: Oh yes and it’s to die for!


It can be intimidating to change the topic in a conversation. 

You may be overwhelmed thinking about grammar and what vocabulary to use.

The phrases shared in today’s episode will definitely help you confidently introduce a new topic.

This will keep the conversation going in English. 

Practice this with friends and colleagues to improve your conversation skills

Maintaining strong connections is key in every interaction you have. 

Your vocabulary and grammar may not be perfect, but, if you keep the conversation going, you’re succeeding!

What other transition phrases do you use when you’re switching topics? 

Share one in the comment section below. 

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