Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3: Episode 16 – Speaking Skill – Becoming a Good Conversationalist

As a non-native English speaker, it’s important to become an active listener.  Becoming an active listener revolves around attentively listening to the other speaker.  Yes, it’s important to speak, too, but you will be liked very quickly if you ask people questions that they WANT to answer.

“So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.

Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.”

Some people are very good at this in and around Thailand because they ask the best questions that they know I would LOVEEEE to answer.  Example, “so what got you into personal development? Why do you love teaching? What are your goals? How did you overcome the obstacles in your life?” I can go on for HOURS about these topics; therefore, it makes them a great listener and conversationalist.

Follow-Up question technique

Let’s get into the basics. If you ask someone, “where are you from” and they say “Greenland,” do you know how many questions you can make from that?

  • Omg! I’ve never met anyone from Greenland! This is exciting!

The person is now feeling the excitement and they’re even more excited to get talking.  Don’t talk about your travels, stay focused and on topic with them.

  • What are some things I can do in Greenland if I go there?
  • Would you recommend any flights? How are the people?
  • Places to eat? How’s daylight there since it’s far up north? Northern lights?
  • Where else have you traveled and what brings you here?

If the other person wants to speak, that’s at least 20 minutes of conversation and more follow-up questions.  You will become this person’s best friend because you have a general interest in what they have to say.

Help those tourists!

Only way to build confidence is to genuinely be in-tune when a tourist asks a question.  I don’t want you to just smile, but really move out of your own way to help them.

Two months ago I saw two foreigners lost on the BTS and they were talking about going somewhere. They asked me where, and I told them they can get off at one particular stop.  I then went on my phone and saw that the station they were going to was not on my side of town, so I quickly told them what to do, get off at Saphan Taksin, go downstairs and take the pier to #8 where Thon Buri train station will be.  They were unbelievably grateful.  This is called doing for others without any expectation of getting anything back.

If a foreigner comes to you (and the Japanese are magicians at this), take them or at least direct them where to go.  Don’t just point and walk away like a douche (lots of people in Hong kong were like that, lol). If you’re trying to think about it, put your hand on your chin to show them you’re thinking and you’re not just being a douche.

Here are a couple techniques for this week and stay tuned for more!

Podcast

TOEFL: Main Clause Structure; Partial & Complete Main Clauses

If a sentence has a subject, it must have a verb unless it’s a double-comparison structure.

If a sentence consists of a main clause and subordinate clause, each should have a subject and a verb.

The clause word is placed at or very near the boundary between the main and the subordinate clause.

Sentence Breakdowns

  1. Packet switched networks ___________ information so that it can be remembered.

a. organize

b. organic

c. organization

d. organizing

 

2. As some grow older, many children __________ bonds to living things such as birds, dogs, cats, and other animals (depending on the country).

a. forms

b. form

c. forming

d. a form

 

3. Always ____________ the necessary documents to their original place as soon as you remove them.

a. return

b. a return

c. it is returned

d. they return

 

4. According to a survey, test scores ___________ influentially in university admission decisions.

a. may figure

b. may be of figure

c. may be a figure

d. have a figure

 

5. ______________ are vibrations or a main accent in music or poetry.

a. It beats

b. Beats

C. There are beats

d. That beats

 

Youtube

Interviewee #5 – Rich Cohen: CEO & Founder of The Lab BKK

Back in the early stages of last year, I was already looking at making my way to Bangkok.  I wanted to be around a community of great, entrepreneurial-minded people.  I contacted this gym called The Lab BKK online and spoke with a man name Rich – who just so happens to be on my podcast today.  I was very apprehensive with the entire ordeal, but I just decided to join the class shortly after the Spartan Competition back in September.  After 30 minutes of this particular cardio class, I was completely dead.  I bought a package, and 5 months later, I’ve never looked so sexy before in my life (HA!).

Moving onto the man of the hour – Rich Cohen – a fitness entrepreneur in Thailand and originally from England.  The first time I met him, he beamed with this aura of optimism.  I’m attracted (no pun intended – don’t get it twisted) to people who are just a bundle of great energy.  I spoke with him the entire class about different things, but it wasn’t until two days ago when I asked myself, “just ask him about joining the podcast.” He agree – instantaneously – and here is some show notes, questions, answers and an intro from him.

“I was 21-years old, wheelchair-bound, sitting in my parent’s backyard smoking a joint, slowly en-route to recovery following a near fatal neck and back injury.”

Richard went on to say that he had that “jesus” moment.  That moment that most of us (I hope) say “enough is enough.”  He came to Thailand in 2004 in a remarkable prime.  Since there were only 1-3 fitness guys around at the time, he built what’s turning into an empire.  Full one-hour podcast down below!

Also, his personal thoughts on the Ketogenic Diet

“I used it for my competition and it worked well for me personally as a fat loss strategy, although I got very sick towards the end and it has taken me a few months to reset the way my body functions since introducing more carbs and protein.

I think it works well for certain people, for instance a friend of mine is type 1 diabetic and an endurance athlete (triathlon) he says going on that diet has been life changing for him as a blood glucose management tool.

Long term I’m not sure what the health implications are consuming that many fats.

Some diets suit different people, I always encourage people to experiment with different types and take bits from each that works well for them.”

I made a blog about a year ago on the ketogenic diet.  I received some backlash and whatnot, but it was all based on opinion.  I’m not someone who sticks to a strict diet.  I love my pizza and my hamburgers, although not excessively.

Nonetheless, to see this many create a business which is booming in Bangkok and ultimately going from wheelchair to champion – is simply amazing.  He did an ultra-marathon in the Atacama Desert in Chile.  I’ve been contemplating about doing an ultra-beast, and now I think I’ve been inspired to achieve it because of this inspirational figure.

 

Podcast Through The Years

Man, I looked back on some photos over the past 1.5 years in my phone, and I couldn’t help but notice an amazing trend.  After the first six months of my podcast, I had only accumulated just under 1800 plays.  A year and a few months later, I’ve amassed a whopping 24k plays + downloads from so many different countries around the world.  Here are some photos and a podcast on my journey.

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MOST RECENT

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The trials and tribulations I had to endure on the way were insane.  At my job, during the month of July (when my plays sparked dramatically), the majority of the teachers were listening to my podcast to infer and implicate who I MAY have been talking about.  I got a lot of s*** for it, threatened, warned, and the teachers began to hate my guts (can’t handle the truth).  Teachers would walk by stepping on my shoe without apologizing, chatter on so many different levels about who I am and how come I have so much work – all this culminated into the biggest success EVER in the history of my life.  How? I never gave up!

Podcast