Being a good listener

Transcript item

Jonathan: Hi, Jo. How's it going?
Jo: Hi, Jonathan. Good, thanks!
Jonathan: Great. Did you have a good weekend?
Jo: Erm, I had an excellent weekend, thank you, yeah.
Jonathan: Great. Well, what did you get up to?
Jo: Erm, I think the highlight for me was a bike ride. So, I think I told you that, erm, I'm injured and I can't walk very far, 
Jonathan: Yeah–
Jo: But I've discovered that I can cycle. 
Jonathan: OK.
Jo: So, that's great. So we just went up the coast. It took up about half an hour to get from Barcelona to Badalona, which is also by the sea. Had a lovely lunch up there. It was all great, a sunny day, but actually the best part for me was on the way back. Erm, because, by the time we had to leave, these big, black clouds had rolled over, erm, and we could see that there was a storm coming very clearly, and very fast.
Jonathan: No way!
Jo: Yeah. So, the journey that took us about an hour and half to get there, on the way back we did in about half an hour, as fast as we could and we just, we raced the storm, erm, back down the coast, and it was, it was just so exciting to me because every time I started to feel those first drops of rain, and it was like, ah, it's catching us, it's catching us, so we were pedalling furiously, even faster and it didn't get us. We got all the way back to the shop in Barcelona where we hired the bikes and, literally, the moment we got back to the shop, got under the shelter, there was a huge crack of thunder, the heavens opened and it was just absolutely torrential rain. Erm, so I was euphoric. We were so happy with that. It was like, yes, we've beaten the storm.
Jonathan: Oh my goodness! Yes, just in time, just in time.
Jo: Yeah. It was literally just at that same moment, so I was completely triumphant, and euphoric as well, probably from all the endorphins from the exercise too.
Jonathan: Yeah, right, yeah. You must have been really excited to just get there in time.
Jo: Yeah, definitely. That was my ... definitely the highlight of my, er, life! (laughs) No, of my weekend definitely, I've been telling everybody all week.
Jonathan: Ah, amazing. And was your injury OK?
Jo: Yeah, it was, thank you. Yeah, amazingly, cycling doesn't seem to affect it. Er, walking is really bad, but the bike is completely fine, maybe even good for it. So, yeah, all in all, an excellent experience.
Jonathan: Oh, good for you. Well, then, like, just to check I've understood it correctly. I guess then, like, I guess the main point is that you've found this new form of exercise and you that you seem to really enjoy riding a bike and you can go outside, and it doesn't seem to, erm, your injury doesn't seem to be a problem. But also you had this really, like, thrilling experience of trying to escape the storm and you just got back to the bike shop with moments to spare. Like, were those the … did I understand the main points correctly?
Jo: Exactly, definitely. Yes, so the context is the injury – that's why it was so important to me and such a positive experience. And you're completely right that it was the excitement of just ... with moments to spare was very satisfying. So, yeah, I've feel like you've understood completely. Yeah.
Jonathan: Oh amazing. Oh, OK, well I'm glad. Well, yeah, thanks for sharing your exciting story.
Jo: And thank you for listening.

In this video, Jo and Jonathan try an experiment in active listening! 

As you watch the video, ask yourself these questions:

  • How would you describe the main point of Jo's story? (For example, was it a funny moment, a stressful time, a crazy coincidence, a scary experience, etc.?)
  • Has Jonathan understood Jo's main point?

Starting a conversation

  • How's it going?
  • Did you have a good weekend?
  • What did you get up to? (get up to = informal way to say do)

Reacting to a story

  • No way!
  • Oh my goodness!
  • Just in time!
  • You must have been really (excited/happy/relieved/angry) …
  • Oh amazing!
  • And was your injury OK?

Checking understanding

  • So, just to check if I've understood it correctly …
  • I guess the main point is …
  • It sounds like a really thrilling experience.
  • Did I understand the main points correctly?
  • Is that right?

Now it's your turn

  1. Record a short message about something that's happened to you or something you've done recently.
  2. Listen to another person's story. Feel free to reply with questions if you're curious about anything!
  3. When you think you understand, reply and tell the person what you think the main point of their story was.
  4. If you get a reply to your story, let them know if they understood your main point. If so, you can congratulate them on being a good listener!

Go to SpeakPipe voice recorder

* Recordings are kept on SpeakPipe server for three months. Please don't include any music in your recording.


Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

Hi Mayra Calapucha,

Thanks for sharing your first recording with us :)

I was interested to hear that you are studying foreign language pedagogy as it is something that is obviously very close to what we do here on this website. How is your course going? Are you studying just English or other languages too? Good luck with it!


LearnEnglish team

HI, I'm very proud of you man , 5 pull-ups in a row is a not an easy one , I know you exercised a lot to do them finally, so keep it up and waiting for you to hit the 10 pull-ups in a row

Hi and thanks for posting your recording.

It was good to hear that you did so well in your exams - congratulations! I'm really sorry to hear though that you didn't get the promotion you were hoping for. It must be so disappointing and frustrating that someone else was hired instead. I do hope that you'll have some good news and get promoted very soon. 

Best wishes,

Jo (LearnEnglish team)

Submitted by ldanielars on Tue, 06/06/2023 - 16:24


How would you describe the main point of Jo's story?
Jo found an alternative way to do something that didn’t affect her injury, so she realized that in the middle of a difficult moment, she had fun and overcome any problem without getting hurt.
Has Jonathan understood Jo's main point?
Yes, he has understood Jo’s main point, the context is related to the injury and how thrilled was that moment for her.

I let my voice recorder of something that has happened to me recently:

Submitted by KadirSenel85 on Tue, 06/06/2023 - 14:56


Jo talked about her own experiences in the video especially Jo tells story a little bit fast and non-stop. Jo talked about storm and ride a bicycle. Jonathan is listening attention when Jo talking and then Jonathan tells her main point.
This video is very helpfull for learners who wanted improve yourself.

Hi Pachon,

Where is Six Flags? Is that in the USA? It sounds like you had a fun time there!


LearnEnglish team

Hi Angelo! Thanks so much for sharing that with us. What was the challenge that you had to do in the hackathon? I understand from what you said that it was an enjoyable and positive experience even though you didn't win. You've made me want to go to a hackathon event now, I'm curious! 

I would love to see more learners listening to Angelo's story about the hackathon event and responding. It's a great way to practise your listening and conversation skills! 

Submitted by aungwai on Tue, 30/05/2023 - 14:22


I like weekends because I can do other things.

Submitted by aungwai on Tue, 30/05/2023 - 13:38


Conversations is the really important