Let’s face it. Not many of us were born as talkative, outgoing, extroverted individuals. We all have room for improvement, and what better area to improve in than conversation skills? In every area of life, whether it be socially, professionally, or even romantically, productive conversation skills are beneficial. Try adding these nine tips to your daily conversations and see what an impact it makes.
1. Pay attention to the other person
Active listening is one of the most important components of good conversation. If the person speaking can see that your attention is elsewhere, they will quickly lose interest in sharing what they have to say and in listening to what you have to share. So turn off the TV, quit glancing at your phone every five seconds, and give that person your undivided attention. You’ll find the favor returned when it’s your turn to speak!
2. Let people sell themselves
It’s simple. We as humans love to talk about ourselves or things that are happening to us. Productive conversations involve people sharing about themselves, stories of their past or present, and their dreams of what the future may hold.
People are literally waiting to stalk about their latest hobby, their new car, or the funny thing that their toddler said at the dinner table. Let people tell their story! You will get to know them and connect more easily.
3. Summarize others’ viewpoints
One way you can show that you are indeed paying attention is to summarize what the other party has just said. Although people love to talk, going without responses that indicate that you are understanding and following along will cause them to feel like you have zoned out.
A quick recap of what has just been said, especially if the other person has been talking for a while, helps the conversation move along smoothly.
4. Don’t interrupt
It’s simple. Don’t be rude. Unless an urgent issue arises in the conversation, don’t interrupt. Give the other person the space to communicate.
5. Make eye contact
A key part of active listening in a conversation is making eye contact. Now, I’m not suggesting you stare intently at the speaker’s eyes without blinking. That’s a staring contest, not a conversation. You can even look somewhere close, that may not be their eyes like their forehead or nose. But an attempt at eye contact lets the speaker know that you are present and listening.
6. Ask open questions
Ask questions that bring out more than just a yes or no, or one word in response. Open questions like “Why did you decide to study biology?” allow a person to open up and share more about themselves than simple one word answers, which can halt the flow of a conversation.
It’s interesting that most of the tips in this list about conversation have nothing to do with you talking. But your body actions definitely are important. So smile! Your body language is crucial to creating a warm and welcoming environment for the other person to share.
Even when talking on the phone, smiling and other signals of body language can have a tangible effect on your tone, and therefore the conversation as a whole.
8. Find things in common
It is much easier to talk to someone when you know that they have an interest in what you are talking about. This way, you don’t feel like you’re boring them or forcing them to listen to a lecture. Conversation comes easier, and people connect more quickly when there are commonalities.
How can you find out what you have in common? Try some of the previously mentioned tips. Ask questions, listen to their story, take notice of the things around them and maybe you can spark up a connection on high school over the class rings you both are wearing.
Have any other interesting or helpful conversation tips? Share them below
Nervous about just starting a conversation? Try these 10 of the Most Effective Ice Breakers for Starting Meaningful Conversations
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