Cue Card Sample

When you overheard a stranger talking on the phone - Cue Card # 713

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe a time when you were in a public place and you overheard a stranger talking on the phone.

You should say:

  • where this happened
  • when it happened
  • what the person was talking about

and explain how you felt about hearing the conversation.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]


Model Answer 1:
I always try my best not to overhear any conversation whether it comes from a stranger or the people, I know. In fact, I consider that doing such a thing is generally the characteristic of a nosy person, and I have set a standard for myself not to be nosy at any time. But, unfortunately, sticking to this standard just may not be easy, when you are in a public place, and when strangers around you talk about all sorts of things, just as I couldn’t do it on a few occasions.

Anyway, it wasn’t like I was actually trying to overhear the conversation of that stranger when I was sitting at the food court of a shopping mall and enjoying some gourmet foods about a few months ago. Rather, I felt like the stranger, talking over his smartphone, was actually trying to attract attention from other people around him by boasting about how he tricked one of his fellow co-workers into covering for him at his work by making up some fabricated stories (I could call them just some “lies” in plain English).

The conversation continued for almost 15 minutes, which provided complete details to the person on the other end as to how the stranger was planning to use his “holidays” to find some real estate properties in another city instead of actually seeing his “imaginary” seriously sick uncle. At one point in his conversation, I even felt like moving away from the stranger after giving him some clues on how people around him were actually listening to his conversation, but I decided against it and just wanted to finish my food as soon as possible and leave that place.

Anyway, I felt a bit awkward and also embarrassed at the same time because I overheard a conversation which was quite distasteful by my standards. I also felt like we all have some kinds of secrets, and we all should try to keep them as such, by trying not to talk about them in any kind of public places, because our secrets can always be used against us.


Model Answer 2:
Well, this topic reminds me of an incident that I have almost forgotten! The incident of hearing a conversation of a stranger occurred in a bustling coffee shop in the heart of our city, adding an unexpected twist to a typical day. Here, I would like to share this experience with you.

I was seated at a cosy corner table in a popular coffee shop known for its ambient atmosphere, aromatic brews, and people engrossed in various activities, from work meetings to casual conversations. I believe it was a Saturday afternoon, during the peak hours when the coffee shop was abuzz with a mix of students, professionals, and those seeking a moment of relaxation.

As I immersed myself in a book, my attention was diverted when a nearby stranger engaged in a phone conversation that soon became hard to ignore. The person, seemingly distressed, was discussing a recent job interview. They shared details about the questions asked, their responses, and the lingering uncertainty about the outcome. The emotional tone indicated a blend of anxiety and hope.

Listening to the stranger's phone conversation created a peculiar mix of emotions. On the one hand, there was a sense of guilt for unintentionally eavesdropping on what seemed like a private matter. However, it also evoked empathy as the person's vulnerability and genuine concern about the job interview resonated. In a public space where personal boundaries are often blurred, this encounter served as a reminder of the shared human experience and the challenges many face in their professional journeys.

This experience prompted me to reflect on the nuances of privacy in public spaces and the stories that unfold around us, often unnoticed. It left me with a heightened awareness of the diverse narratives present in the seemingly ordinary backdrop of a coffee shop, making it a memorable and thought-provoking moment.

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Jhorna Chowdhury
Generally, I am not interested in hearing anyone talking over the phone whether he is a stranger or a person known to me. But sometimes I had to hear such talks because nowadays peoples are using a smartphone without thinking people around and talking about personal matters loudly.

A few months ago, I came to a metropolitan city from my village by train. I always prefer window seats, and this day, I booked my ticket beside the window and started my journey. After a while, I noticed the person who sat opposite me started talking over the phone very loudly. Though I tried not to hear him, unfortunately, I had to hear him talking because he was talking about the street laws in my country and it is related to my subject in university as my academic subject is Law.

He discussed many things over the phone and I think he was either talking to one of his students or one of his colleagues. Either way, this is perhaps one of the very read occasion when a public conversation over a phone was something important and interesting to me. I wanted to thank him after he finished his conversation but I did not because it would only look indecent.