Lesson Transcript


Chigusa: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Chigusa and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about…
Peter: How Talking Points Get You Speaking and TurboCharge Your Progress
Chigusa: You’ll Learn...
Peter: ...One, The Power Of Talking Points in Language Learning
Chigusa: Two, How Peter Applied This Tactic to Speak More French
Peter: ... Three, How You Can Build Your Own Talking Points
Chigusa: So you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to set anchor points...
Chigusa: ...so that you could stay committed to language learning.
Peter: And my anchor point was language school. I enrolled in an in-person class..
Chigusa: ..and did you get back on track? Let’s hear it, Peter.
Peter: I did. I promised 8 minutes of French conversation... and I hit it.
Chigusa: That’s great! So, I take it the classes are going well.
Peter: Chigusa, they were great... But, I... quit.
Chigusa: Wait.... why quit a good thing?
Peter: That’s a good question! My only issue was making the time to learn.
Chigusa: Right, and school was an anchor point.
Peter: And it got me back on track
Chigusa: Okay, so it served its purpose. What about your 8 minute goal. How’d you reach that?
Peter: It’s thanks to a little something called Talking Points...
Chigusa: And listeners, the more talking points you have...
Peter: ...the more you can talk in your target language
Chigusa: ...and that’s the topic for today's Inner Circle.
Peter: How Talking Points Get You Speaking and TurboCharge Your Progress
Chigusa: Part 1: The Power Of Talking Points in Language Learning
Peter: Okay, let’s start with the basics.
Chigusa: Yes, what are talking points?
Peter: A talking point is “a topic that invites discussion or argument”
Chigusa: Meaning... a topic, or just something to talk about?
Peter: Exactly. It could be “about yourself,” “restaurants,” “work, “your hobbies and passions,” “a sports game you saw last week” ... all of these are valid talking points. Chigusa, question for you, do you like to travel?
Chigusa: Yes I do, why?
Peter: Do you like talking about travel?
Chigusa: Of course.
Peter: That’s another talking point. So, as long as it invites discussion... and gives someone room to respond.
Chigusa: Now, let’s tie it to language learning.
Peter: Listeners, have you ever ran out of things to say in your target language?
Chigusa: Or... if you’ve always wanted to be able to speak more...
Peter: Talking points are the direct solution to this problem.
Chigusa: The more points you have, the more you can speak.
Peter: Or in my case with my 8 minute goal, the longer your conversation can be.
Chigusa: Peter, let’s say you’re using “the weekend” as a talking point.
Peter: Okay.
Chigusa: How would that work? From a language learner’s perspective?
Peter: You can ask a friend what they did over the weekend. So you have to know that question your target language. Then, they’ll ask you back.
Chigusa: Right, you should plan on preparing an answer in your target language
Peter: Exactly.
Chigusa: But, I think this is where learners get stuck. Let’s say both of you answer. Where do you go next?
Peter: Just like with a normal conversation, you’d work off of what your friend says....
Chigusa: Ah, but the trick is... you need to be able to talk about it in your target language.
Peter: Exactly. If your friend said they went to a restaurant. That’s a natural talking point to explore next. You can ask...“what kind of restaurants do you like?”
Chigusa: You just need to know the words and phrases for the “restaurant” point.
Peter: And if you know them, if you prepared them, you can maximize your speaking time...
Chigusa: ...you can keep your conversations going...
Peter: ...without running out of things to say. I want to illustrate with an example from my past.
Chigusa: Ok
Peter: So, Chigusa, when I was younger... and before I would call a girl I was interested in, I would prepare a list of things to talk about. Have you ever call a guy and prepare a list of things to say?
Chigusa: I used to write the whole script out.
Peter: See? This is what talking points are. You have to be ready to talk about something you know. And that kind of sums up talking points.
Chigusa: But what about you, Peter? How did you hit your goal?
Peter: Let’s jump into the second part. Part 2.
Chigusa: Part 2: How Peter’s Using Talking Points to Talk More French
Peter: So, as you know, I have timed conversations with my skype teacher in every lesson..
Chigusa: Yep!
Peter: ..and at the end of every month, I try to hit a goal.
Chigusa: It sounds like a lot of work, Peter.. You’d need a lot of talking points to hit 8 minutes.
Peter: Actually, Chigusa. You’d be surprised. It’s not so hard because conversations follow a pattern.
Chigusa: Like... greetings, catching up, asking “what you’ve been up to”?
Peter: Exactly. Most conversations start here. And it takes up time...
Chigusa: How long does it take?
Peter: In my case, about 3 minutes. So, 3 of those 8 minutes are topics that I know really well and can breeze through.
Chigusa: Okay, so 3 minutes. That’s easy for you.
Peter: But, after that...
Chigusa: ...that’s when its get tougher.
Peter: You can say that. That’s when conversations goes into uncharted territory.
Chigusa: So, after you’ve covered the basics... where do you go next?
Peter: In my case, I was traveling. So, it made sense to talk about travel. Also a fairly simple talking point.
Chigusa: Right, you can tell them where you’ve went. Where did you go?
Peter: I want to the states. We went to San Francisco, Salt Lake City, New York CIty, Boston, New Jersey, Nantucket.
Chigusa: Ah, yes, and you could ask her if she went. Or where she likes to go.
Peter: Exactly. So, that was another 3 minutes or so. I was also well prepared for the travel talking point. It’s just a matter of knowing how to say “I went to the states” in French. Why I went. Asking if she’s ever went. Recommending where she should go. Basic phrases, and questions that you can find in our Absolute Beginner lessons.
Chigusa: So all of this stuff you already learned with the lessons.
Peter: That was the easy part. But in order to keep the conversation going and flowing, I still needed more.
Chigusa: What other talking points did you use?
Peter: Talking about my family is the I go to often. And about language learning.
Chigusa: Talking about language learning in ...in the language you’re learning... that sounds tough!
Peter: Well said, Chigusa. And that’s why you have to prepare these points ahead of time. So, I knew that my skype teacher would ask about that....
Chigusa: ...if you did any language learning while you were abroad...
Peter: And by the way, this is how you work on building talking points. I wrote out a list of questions, phrases that she would ask me.
Chigusa: For example?
Peter: For example: “Did you study french while you were traveling?” And of course my answer was yes. “How did I study? Where did I study? How did I find the time to study?” You can see how the questions naturally evolve. Just some questions she could ask me. Then, I’d come up with answers. “I learned with the app for 10 minutes a day. I drilled the flashcards.” I drilled flashcards is complex but once you get the translation and memorize it, it’s not. “How many did you study?” And then you kind understand the pattern. And then, each time, it repeats like that.
Chigusa: Ok, so essentially, you came up with a basic list of lines, phrases and questions... in English?
Peter: In English. And afterward, I did my best to translate them into French. Had them checked by my Premium PLUS teacher. She reviewed my work... and gave me the lines I needed. And, I also recorded myself saying the lines out loud and had my teacher check those.
Chigusa: Nice. Sounds like a great workflow. You think of a talking point.
Peter: I prepare the lines. I translate what I can and get my Premium PLUS teacher to help with the rest.
Chigusa: Then you record yourself saying those lines for extra practice and feedback.
Peter: Exactly.
Chigusa: How many lines did you prepare?
Peter: It was around.. 30. So, 30 questions and phrases about language learning in French...
Chigusa: And did you use them all?
Peter: Not all. It really depends on how the conversation goes.. But that’s how I build my talking points. And that helped me reach 8 minutes.
Chigusa: Alright, now how can our listeners apply this tactic.
Peter: Let’s jump into the third part.
Chigusa: Part 3: How You Can Build Your Own Talking Points
Peter: Listeners, now that you’re on your 8th month of learning.
Chigusa: You might feel like you’re plateauing...
Peter: ...and not speaking enough of your target language.
Chigusa: You could take some time to learn new words... new grammar points...
Peter: ...but you’d still need to figure out how to apply them in conversations, right?
Chigusa: So, a more efficient way to speak more... is to have talking points.
Peter: A talking point is “a topic that invites discussion or argument”
Chigusa: In other words.... something to talk about with another person.
Peter: So, what do you talk about in your native language? What kind of daily conversations do you have?
Chigusa: There’s weekend plans, your schedule for the week, the weather...
Peter: ...you can talk about yourself, food, restaurants...and anything really...
Chigusa: ...as long as you allow room for someone to respond and share their thoughts.
Peter: So, the first step is... come up with a list of talking points. Let’s say.. 5.
Chigusa: And for each talking point, come up with 10 or 20 lines and questions that you expect to say...
Peter: ...or expect someone to ask you.
Chigusa: For example, if you’re talking about weekend plans, you’ll need lines like... “I’m staying in this weekend. I’m going out tonight. I have plans. I have no plans. What are your plans? Do you want to hang out?”... and so on
Peter: Just imagine how the conversation would go, from what you talk about with your friends in your own native language. This will give you an idea of what lines you need.
Chigusa: Write these lines out in English. That’s the second step.
Peter: Once you have a list of lines, translate them.
Chigusa: If you’re a Premium PLUS user, you can ask your teacher for help.
Peter: If not, ask a friend. You can ask them what other lines to include.
Chigusa: You can record yourself saying those lines for practice.
Peter: And you can literally try out that talking point with your teacher. Have a conversation with them. See how it goes...
Chigusa: ...so you can see if you’re missing anything, or if you get stuck.
Peter: if you’re a Premium user, the easiest thing to do is... Leave a comment with the lines on a lesson...
Chigusa: And our teachers will get back to you with translations.
Peter: Listeners, you can also look for lessons in our Lesson Library...
Chigusa: ...that match the talking point you want to use.
Peter: Since every lesson teaches you a conversation....
Chigusa: ...you can memorize that conversation for your own use.
Peter: So, once you prepare a talking point...
Chigusa: ...you now have a ton of lines that you can use in a conversation.
Peter: And, when you have a BUNCH of these talking points...
Chigusa: You can truly maximize your speaking time in your target language.
Peter: Now, the one question we didn't answer is “where did these talking points come from?” Chigusa, where do you think they come from?
Chigusa: Hmm, what you’ve been up to recently?
Peter: That’s a great answer. What you’ve been up to recently. What’s coming up in the future. Everyone likes to talk about wat plans they have. And as the time gets closer, they want to talk more about it. Your own hobbies. Or, your partner’s hobbies. So many of the talking points come from your own self interests. Then, as you get to know your teacher or your language learning partner, it will come from their interests. And will really help build a good base of talking points.
Chigusa: Alright, so, what kind of goal can we expect for next month, Peter?
Peter: So, I hit 8. And we’re at the end of August now.
Chigusa: So, about 4 months left in the year.
Peter: Alright, so I have to readjust my goals so I’m looking to hit 20 minutes of conversation by the end of the year. So, I’ll aim for 10 minutes.
Chigusa: Sounds great! Deadline?
Peter: September 30th.
Chigusa: Listeners, how about you?
Peter: What’s your small, measurable goal? And what’s the deadline?
Chigusa: Let us know.
Peter: Do you have a list of talking points? If you don’t write one and send it in.
Chigusa: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Peter: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Chigusa: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Chigusa: Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.