“No man is an island.”

Indeed, people are relationship-driven creatures. We are present in this world in order to relate to others and establish a solid community. It goes without saying that we need to communicate with each other in order to fulfill this purpose, though.

It is our responsibility to engage our colleagues in a nourishing and productive conversation. Through good communication, romantic relationships, business partnerships and even product selling have all been implemented. Good communication skills are the foundation of a long-lasting relationship. How can you develop them? You can start by omitting these ten most common mistakes in a conversation from your communication bank:

1. Do you speak quickly?

You’re in a brand new situation with a person you’ve just met, so it’s understandable that you became nervous. Since you didn’t have enough time to compose yourself, you blabbered and spoke too much and too fast. Because of this, the person you’re talking to wasn’t able to understand any word you’ve said.

Solution: Nervousness brings about the common mistakes in a conversation, so to combat this, just breathe deeply and smile. Assume that the person you’re talking to is interested in what you have to say. Put some pauses in your statements.

2. Do you ask too many questions?

The conversation sounds like a police interrogation with you asking too many questions and your partner scrambles to answer all of them. As a result, connection is made and no relationship is built.

Solution: Follow this structure:

a. Ask a general question.

b. Consider his answer.

c. Give feedback about his answer and then answer the question you’ve asked.

d. Wait for him to respond. If he replies with a question, good. If he replies with a statement, repeat what he said and wait for him to elaborate.

3. Are your statements scripted?

You’re going to make a sale, so you memorized your company’s sales script, even though your conversation partner isn’t really reacting based on what you’ve memorized. Confusion arises.

Solution: Focus on building trust first. You can never seal a deal if your prospect doesn’t really trust you.

4. Do you hog the spotlight?

You walk way too much: about yourself, your job, your dreams and frustrations. Pretty soon, the person you’re talking too feels like he just attended a whole-day seminar about you.

Solution: Ask for your partner’s opinion.

- “My favorite topic is about personal finance. How about you?”

5. Is your objective missing?

You discuss bland topics and end the conversation with no real outcome. Were you supposed to build trust? Preempt a sale? Invite a prospect? No-one knows!

Solution: Adult communication isn’t superficial—it exists to fulfill a purpose. What type of purpose? Define this first before entering a conversation.

6. Do you have to be right all the time?

Every conversation seems like a battlefield to you. You have to make everyone agree with what you have to say, so you never back down. You’re always right, right?

Solution: Accept the fact that everyone is entitled to his own opinions. You don’t need to force them into agreeing with you—they’ll just choose to walk away from you instead. Arrogance causes some of these common mistakes in a conversation to happen. Stay humble.

7. Do you talk about awkward topics with a person you barely know?

“Hey, I just met you, but listen to me talk about my past relationships, my nagging digestive problems and my balding hair.”

Solution: Stay away from topics involving religion, sex, politics and negativity, especially when you’ve just become acquainted with someone. Focus on safe topics such as hobbies, common interests and the topic of the conference you’re in

8. Are you really listening?

You’re really just waiting for the other person to stop talking so that you can get your turn. Ha, you’re going to wow them with your speaking skills—who cares what they say?

Solution: Put your pride on hold and really hear what your talking partner is telling you. Learn to read between the lines. Observe his body language. Avoid asking “yes or no” questions and probe deeper instead. You’re there to listen, not to merely hear.

9. Are you rude to the person you’re talking to?

You think you’re better than your talking partner so you don’t think about respecting their opinions. Sure, you use polite language and you mind your manners, but your words offend and your attitude challenges them.

Solution: How you communicate is better than what you communicate. Before you aim to communicate, aim to respect first.

10. Is your body language driving them away?

You would like to start communicating with people but no one seems to want to talk to you. Why? Your arms are crossed, you’re slouching and your eyebrows are furrowed—that’s why.

Solution: Relax.Communication is all about openness and community. Look at people in the eye. Smile more. Stand up straight. You got this.

Whether you are the executive of a fast growing company or a businessman trying to get home to see your family, there are certain aspects of society that will kill your time and productivity. Top 10 Time Killers (and How to Fight Back)

Featured photo credit: Man and woman screaming at each other. Marriage before the divorce. OTHER PHOTOS FROM THIS SERIES IN MY PORTFOLIO.via Shutterstock

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