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This is an all English podcast, episode 1545, How to Understand a Fast and Funny Story in English.


Welcome to the All Ears English podcast downloaded more than 200 million times. Are you feeling stuck with your English? We'll show you how to become fearless and fluent by focusing on connection, not perfection, with your American hosts. Linda McMahon, the English adventurer, and Michelle Kaplan, the New York Radio Girl coming to you from Colorado and New York City U.


S a and to get Real-Time transcripts right on your phone and create your personalized vocabulary list, try our Iooss app, start your seven day free trial at all ears English dot com forward slash bonuses.


Do you struggle to understand when a native tells a story but you miss a vocabulary word and all of a sudden you get stuck today, find out the two things you need to pay attention to in order to stay in the story and enjoy the connection in English.


Hey, Michelle, how are you doing today? Hey, Lindsey, I'm good, I'm good. I'm excited to talk to you today on the podcast.


I know today we're talking all about listening to stories, especially when people speak quickly. Right. Because usually when we're listening in a new language, people will speak quickly because they're excited about the story they're telling, right?


Exactly right. Yeah. They speak quickly. They're excited about telling the story. I mean, people have also very different storytelling styles. You know, like some people talk in extreme detail. Some people are really fast about it. Right.


I mean, I'm sure, you know, like usually I feel like it's like my mom, I'm not my mom, but like like some other relatives who speak in great detail with stories all about. Yes. Oh, yeah. I know there are people that get these reputations for just when they wind up with a story, just like grab a coffee and settle in, because it's going to be a long one. So people are known for that. But sometimes what ends up happening is someone starts telling a story and then other people get in on the story.


Right, and they share and the conversation changes a little bit. And that's, I think, what our listeners might struggle with when they miss one word. They don't understand one word, and then the whole thing goes up in smoke. Right.


Right. I definitely have had students who are, you know, talk about being frustrated, listening for something because of vocabulary.


And of course, I get it like you want to understand every word. It's I mean, like I'm guilty of this. Like, if I sometimes if I'm watching a show in a language that I've been trying to learn, I will you know, I'm just so focused on, like, the vocabulary. Yeah. And it's not always about like every vocabulary word.


Because, Lindsey, when you are listening to a story, are you necessarily listening to every single word?


No, that's not the important part. The important part are things like the just the overall idea and the tone. Right, Michelle? Things like that. Yeah, right.


Right, right. Exactly. So, guys, we are going to help you out with this today.


This is this is super important. You want to be able to understand when people are telling stories. Right. To be able to follow along. And so, you know, this is part of the reason why we created conversations and coffee, right, Lindsay?


Exactly. Really, it's the only place where you can practice listening to fast conversations and not just fast conversations, but fast group conversations. Right. I have not seen anything else online or offline where teachers are helping you guys with this.


So it's a very unique subscription program. We have a lot of students in there right now. They are receiving weekly lessons and quizzes. They listen to a short conversation about fifteen minutes and then they take a quiz and it's a group conversation. All of us are on that microphone and it's fun. It's just a really good way to work on your listening skills. Yes, it is fun.


Yeah, I love it. Yeah. And we're always telling stories are always sharing things.


And so yeah. That's why we wanted to talk about this today, because we want to help you improve.


So you don't miss those stories because if you miss the stories are going to miss the connection guys. Yeah. That's what this is all about. That's what we're here for all year. English. Yeah. Conexion. Yeah, it's about story.


So I just want to let our listeners know before we dive into this today, Michel, where to go to sign up right away. Let's go to all English dot com slash fast f a s t to sign up guys. But let's get into a little bit more detail, a few little hints today for our listeners.


OK, OK. Yeah, absolutely.




So today we're going to talk about two strategies really for listening to a story. And and Lindsay, you really mentioned these already. So the first one is just and the second one is the tone. Right. So listening for these two things and these are so important for understanding a story someone is telling. I mean, Lindsey already mentioned you don't listen to every single detail extremely closely.


I mean, let's say you had to take notes or, you know, present that information later.


You know, that might be a little different.


But when you're when you're listening to a fun light story, you need to be, you know, hung up on, you know, tripping over vocabulary words and just getting in life. I mean, that's not what stories are about.


Yeah. I mean, this is about, you know, how do we socialize with our colleagues in the break room? Right. When we used to go to the break room. Yeah, right. In the future, we'll all be back at work again. Right. And there will be a break room again. But how do you socialize on Zoome before that meeting starts or how do you talk to people when you're out at a party? How do we do that?


Right. It's not that we're taking notes. And you know, the problem is, guys, if you are always spending your time rewinding and you're getting frustrated because you missed a word, you missed the whole thing, you missed the whole point, right, Michel?


For sure.


Yeah. Like I mean, like I was saying, if I try and watch a TV show or something where, you know, I, I just know that sometimes there can be constant rewinding and dictionaries and blah, blah, and it's kind of like, well, first of all, you guys are at this.


Level now where you you can get this main idea, right? You are at a super high listening level and this is just going to help, you know, give you that extra push of what you need to get over that hump when it comes to your listening skills, especially with stories.


I love it.


And guys, in just a minute, we're actually going to do something brand new that we've never done before, which we're so cool. Michel, I like to try new things. We're going to play a tiny little clip from one of these conversations from conversations and coffee and help you understand how we would use just in tone to get it, to really understand it, to map that conversation, as you say, Michel, right?


Absolutely. Absolutely. So, yeah, guys, again, when we listen to a story, we're listening for two things.


One is the main idea or the gist, and one is that overall feel of the story. Right. So let's talk a little bit more about tone, Lindsay. We've talked about kind of getting the main idea.


I mean, what do we mean by what is the tone?


Yeah, so the idea is, can you put a name or a feeling to it? This is about feeling tones, right? This is about emotions.


Is the person sad, sarcastic, nostalgic right now? That's about nostalgia a lot on this show. Yeah. Are they making jokes? Are they scared or are they recounting like a scary story or something threatening that happen? You want to put an emotion to that story because that puts guardrails around it and helps you start to place the details of the story. Right, right.


Right, right. And when you're listening to something where other people are also in the conversation, like, you know, with conversations and coffee, you know, you can also hear their reactions, right?


Are they laughing? Are they adding their own and are they interjecting? You know what? What do they do? So this also helps you with the tone. So these two things coupled together, this listening for the gist, the main idea and the tone. This is what listening to stories is all about, especially when they're being told in a very fast way.


Right. I love that. I love that. So, Michelle, what do you think if we go ahead and play this short clip? It's pretty it's pretty short here, guys. Listen, and what should our listeners listen for?


What are we trying to do as we listen here? Yeah.


Again, so listen in your head, just when you're listening, just try and relax and don't get don't start rewinding live right now for the main idea. Right. The gist and the tone. Right. So try and put a name to the tone. Try and actually find a word for it. What do you think? Fine. I'll say two words if you want. Right. It can be whatever however many words you want. So. All right.


So we play the clip. It's a pretty funny one.


Yeah. Let's go ahead and do it. And then we will be right back right after the clip, guys.


All right. Yeah, yeah. Let me mean my sleep over as well. So, Aubrey, it sounds like we would not have been very good sleepover friends because I had been a night owl to the core and I was always I wouldn't make fun of my friends when they would go to sleep like I was such a pain. I thought I would sing the party pooper song to them, you know, like, oh, I was going, oh, annoying to me.


Oh, you would have hated me. Like, I would sing the song like I would. I was always the last one awake sometimes like the parents would have to come in. I remember having to sit with my friend's parents like then after everybody went to sleep and I didn't want to go to sleep like but like I, I felt so bad. And now I like as a mom, I'm like, oh my God, if I had, you know, with a little Michelle one day like that, that would be terrible.


But yeah. So everyone would have been good for us. But I think yeah, I do think that it is like Lindsey said, it's a rite of a rite of passage.


OK, Michelle.


So that was a clip from one of the lessons or one of the conversation samples from conversations and coffee that our subscribers get to not only listen to, but take a quiz on and get a transcript, of course, once they're done. But let's get what you know.


Let's use this as learning material today. Michelle, what can we do here?


Absolutely. All right.


Well, so guys like now you can check check how you did. So, you know, we want to think about what the main idea was. And, you know this in a way, it's kind of like a paraphrasing. So let's talk about the main idea first, and I'm going to give a little quiz. All right.


So if I were to ask you between these three options, right. What is basically what you the main things that you should walk away after hearing this story about my my time having sleepovers, I just filed.


OK, so the first one is Michelle was difficult in a funny way to her friends at sleepovers because she never wanted to go to sleep.


OK, then B is Michelle saying the party pooper song to her friends and then see as Michelle had to sit with her friend's parents at sleepovers. OK, so OK. So Lindsay, what would you say? All right, so if I had to really choose, what's the basic most important thing to know here is. Basically, that you were difficult, you were kind of hard to invite to a sleepover, sometimes your friends loved you and I know because I had friends like this, I had friends like this and in college to right.


That never wanted to go to sleep. We're always really wired at nighttime. I just wired and crazy, maybe too much candy or something. And you never wanted to go to sleep.


So it would be a right. Exactly. Exactly. I mean B and C are both true.


I mean, I did sing the party pooper and I had to sit with my friend's parents, but. But are they the most important parts of the story?


Not really. Not. I mean, I could have said I sang the book Betty Boop song. Yeah, right. It really doesn't matter what the song was, you know.


So if you heard, like, I could imagine, you know, just from students that I've talked to, I could imagine or as a language learner myself, I'm listening. I'm listening. And then I hear party pooper. Exactly. And then I'm like, well, what I don't know what I have been kind of getting lost in that. That's exactly what I was just thinking, Michel. I could imagine that happening to our listeners. Right. If we don't know the term party pooper, which is kind of an idiot, like kind of a saying a cultural slang.


Right. Someone who just sort of brings a party down. Right. So but but that doesn't matter. Great. That's not really that important. That's not the point. We have to understand that Michel was difficult when he was asleep.


Exactly. Exactly. That's so true. And, you know, at another point, like, let's say you were listening, you know, there are times to listen for the details, but this isn't really one of them.


That's not going to lead you to the connection. I mean, there's something to be said about the details. And we'll definitely go into those things and I'll be listening episodes. But, you know, today we wanted to really give you this idea of getting the big main point right. So that you can, you know, feel confident when you're listening.


I love that. That's so good. So the idea today, guys, is don't let the details, like, get you stuck, right? Don't let it block you from Conexion. You know, you have to understand the key point, the main idea, the gist and the tone is a good way to get there. Right. Because that like I said before, that does put guardrails. It kind of helps you place things so you can understand where is this story going?


What is the tone of the story. Right.


Right, right. Exactly. Exactly.


So, yeah. So let's I mean, we haven't spoken about the tone yet. Exactly. About Lindsay.


I mean, what word would you put on this G is the tone. Michelle, you were a little nostalgic.


Maybe not. Maybe not what want to say that it was that it was humor, but. Yeah, yeah. For sure. Yeah. Because I was talking about my past, but it was humorous.


I mean the tone, the tone was just that it was funny. I mean everyone was kind of laughing, making sarcastic jokes, things like that. Yeah. Yeah. I was talking in this like I was excited about it and yeah.


Kind of I was almost self-deprecating. Right. Oh you could have hated me. Right. There was also a sense of shared understanding in the tone that we all went to those sleepovers. We all knew that person.


We knew that person. Right. That kept everyone up. But they were fun. And maybe we wanted to sleep sometimes. Sometimes we want to stay up with them.


We knew it's like a sense of shared experience, which is huge, which is huge.


Oh, yeah. For connection. Exactly. Oh, yeah, absolutely. So, guys, again, you know, here we've talked about the strategy of the two things, you know, and I'm kind of imagining, you know, like them intertwined together.


This just in the tone. So if you walk away from those two things and you say Michelle was telling a funny story that everybody kind of identified with about, you know, her experience as a child when she was difficult at sleepovers, there you go. Like, that's what you need to know. You don't need to say, oh, it was this song or the parents or blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, we want to listen in this case for the main points.


I love it. That is so good.


I mean, so this is exactly what our listeners need to get better, right? If we don't practice listening to these conversations, we will never be good when it's game time, right. When you're in that moment at a party or at work and you actually have to track that conversation. Right. So how could listeners extend from here today, for example, Michelle? Well, I mean.


Well, for sure. I mean, you know, think about like what are you listening for when you're listening for these stories.


Right? Are you I mean, is there a reason to listen for a detail? I mean, that's not what we're talking about today. I mean, and one way to extend this is to think let's say you were in this conversation and you are actually sitting with all of us talking. Would you share something?


How would you continue it? What would you connect with?


So this this is the step that also connects the listening to the speaking. Right. I could even kind of practice and say, OK, well, now what? I tell a story, say that story out loud.


I mean, this is another really great way that you can practice with conversations. Coffee.


Oh, that is so good, Michel, because I know a lot of our listeners say they're not sure how to extend the story. They're not sure what to say after someone shares something. They're not sure. Where to go from there? But you won't know unless you practice it mentally, you mentally rehearse a million times, not a million times, maybe 100 times before you get in there. And then you have those ideas that just come to you naturally.


Right. And a good starting point is signing up guys for conversations and coffee, right, Michel? Absolutely.


I love this. It's super fun. And there will be a bazillion stories for you to choose from when you're doing your practicing because, I mean, that's what it's all about. Like life is about the conversations are about telling stories and relating things to yourselves or to other people. And, you know, that's what really brings about these relationships.


Exactly. So this is committing to about 15 minutes of work a week, guys, that you get the weekly quiz delivered to you by email every Wednesday with that custom conversation, the group fast conversation. And then you take your quiz and you go on with your day. So just a little bit of extra work each week and you will see those results, right, Michel? Absolutely.


Absolutely. I love that. So, yeah, the takeaway for today, guys, is if a story is too fast, start out by listening for the gist.


Right. What's important? What's the tone? And then how can you contribute and continue the conversation? What would you say? I mean, it doesn't even have to be mentally rehearsing it. Why not just say it out loud? Why know when you're in the shower?


Just practice saying, OK, this is what I would have said.


This is how I would have continued it. Right. So, again, don't worry. Don't get stuck on every word, every detail. That's not what this is about.


Listen to the main points and you are going to really improve your listening skills in English.


I love that. So good. And also, don't worry if you don't have the vocabulary to do that transition, because we're going to do that in other episodes when we talk about conversation mapping. But for today, guys, just go and sign up for the program. Go to all. Here's English dot com forward, slash fast.


That's Feste and sign up. Get on the email list to start getting your quizzes every week. So good.


Michala so good. Oh my gosh this was fun. This was new and different and I had a great time. Yeah. Good stuff. Good stuff. I'll see you back here next time.


All right. Bye bye. Bye bye.


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