March 1

English C1 Speaking: Talking About Personality

How to speak about personality in natural spoken English? Let’s find out!



Hello, this is Kristian from Cambridge Advanced Speaking, how are you doing today? I hope all is well and that you’re ready to learn some natural spoken English with me.

If you didn’t know, I run the website Get Ready For Success, and there you can find the audio files, videoclips and lesson notes for all the podcast episodes.

I create and share these learning materials, because I want to help you speak better English and get a high mark in your C1 Speaking Exam.

Today we’re going to talk about the topic of personality. We’ll start with a warm up question to get you focused and into the topic. Then we’ll talk about a list of adjectives you can use to describe personality. Finally, we’ll look at a part 1 question and I’ll give you my model answer.

Are you up for it? Are you keen to try? I’m sure you are!

Let’s do this!

Warm-up Question

How do you think the following 5 things reflect our personality?

  1. the job we choose
  2. the subjects we choose to learn more about
  3. our free-time interests
  4. the clothes we wear
  5. the friends we choose

Now, this is the moment in the podcast where I need to tell you about the lesson notes, because I’m convinced you get much more out of this learning experience if you use the notes on my website.

You can use the link in the description of this episode to get the transcript. If you’ve never tried it, then why not click on the link now, so you can read the question again. Perhaps you could pause the podcast and come up with some answers before you continue listening? I truly believe it will help you transform from a passive to active learner of English.

Okay, let me now give you a personal answer, so you have an example to work with:

How does the job we choose reflect our personality?

Well, I’d argue that it reflects our personality to a great extent. For example, in my case I’d say that I’m quite unconventional when it comes to choosing jobs.

Unconventional means not based on or conforming to what is generally done or believed. And that certainly describes me when I compare myself to most others around me. I’m self-employed, while the vast majority of my friends work for a company.

And a lot more can be said about my personality when looking at my choice to work as an independent English teacher. For instance, I’d argue I’m a slightly idealistic person.

If you describe someone as idealistic, you mean that they have ideals, and base their behaviour on these ideals, even though this may be impractical.

I suppose it’s true in my case, because I want people from all different backgrounds to have access to my learning resources. This is one of the reasons why I’ve been putting out podcast episodes for free.

Now, there is of course another reason for sharing free learning materials. I mean to say, I hope that some listeners who have access to my free materials will buy my digital C1 Speaking course next month (April 2023). That’s why I used the collocation slightly idealistic.

All right, that’s enough warming up for you.

I hope that you see how these question can help you start thinking deeply about the topic of personality. A topic that is not only really interesting to talk about with others, but which could very well be in your exam, too!

Personality Adjectives

Let’s talk about adjectives to describe personality. In the warming-up I’ve already given you two adjectives, and now I’m going to give you much more. Again, I highly encourage you to repeat and review all these adjectives with the lesson notes on my website, because it’s a lot to take in.

The following adjectives are usually used in a positive way:

competent, conscientious, considerate, genuine, hilarious, imaginative, open-minded, outgoing, supportive, thoughtful, well organised.

The following adjectives are usually used in a negative way:

chaotic, insecure, insensitive, naive, self-centred

The following adjectives could be either:

idealistic, protective, unconventional

I’m not going to explain the meaning of all these words. Instead, I’ll tell you what to do if you don’t know the meaning of one of these adjectives.

As an example, let’s look at the adjective conscientious. Someone who is conscientious is very careful to do their work properly. So if you use the lesson notes to repeat and review this episode, you are a conscientious person.

Now, it’s great if you know the meaning of all these adjectives to describe personality, but it’s even better if you can use them when you speak English. To help you do that, here are 5 statements for you that you can try to answer:

Say if the following statements are true or false for you, and explain why:

  1. My close friends tend to be people who are very similar to me.
  2. People tell me I take after a particular person in my family.
  3. I’d describe myself as a fairly outgoing person.
  4. People would probably say I’m conscientious.
  5. I find it hard to organise my study activities.

Model Answer

Here’s my answer to the 3rd question:

Yes, I’d say I’m a fairly outgoing person. I guess I’m friendly and on the whole I like meeting and talking to people. That said, I’m less fond of meeting new people than I used to be. As an English teacher I already communicate a lot during the day, so I tend to value me-time more and more these days. I’m really keen on reading books, for example.

Some nice language there:

fairly-outgoing; on the whole; less fond of meeting people; tend to value me-time; really keen on doing something.

Closing Notes

Okay then, There you are. A 12 minute lesson about the topic of personality. All natural spoken English.

I hope you enjoyed this episode! If you did, please share it with someone who could benefit from it.

If you are interested in getting more content to review and repeat this lesson, I’d suggest subscribing to my mailing list.

I’ve decided to use my mailing list as a complement to the podcast episodes. This means I’ll send you once per week a short email which helps you to repeat and review the topics that I talk about on the podcast. I start sending out the weekly emails this Saturday (4 March 2023).

So, if you want to repeat and review the language in this episode to become a better English speaker, you can subscribe to my email lessons at the bottom of my homepage.

All right, that’s all from me. Take care of yourself, and each other.

Speak soon, my friends.


About the Author

Dutch proficient speaker of English with a Cambridge C2 certificate (grade A) and CELTA qualified. Four years experience as a teacher and ESL exam coach (Cambridge English B2, C1, C2, IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson PTE).

  • Terrific! (as usual) Thanks a lot! Your podcast is my lifesaver to get ready for my exam in May. Not only for the speaking part but also for others! 🚀

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