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10 Ways Smart People Start Conversations With Anyone

10 Ways Smart People Start Conversations With Anyone

The heading is not to say that some people are smart while conversing and that others are just plain stupid. That would be a gross generalisation. But perception says that some people who converse in a smart manner are more aware and confident. And we believe that you must have a way of coming across as someone who is smart, creative and sure of themselves. These following sentences are some of the ways of starting or continuing an informed and interesting conversation that is not only a pleasure to others but of great interest to you.

1. “That is such a great pin/ring/pen/etc.”

By starting with a comment on something personal, you can often know more about the other person. This forays into the personal space without being too intrusive but at the same time its a positive note to start conversation with. And who knows you might just stumble upon a great story.

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2. “Do you know which way the bar/room/office/water cooler is?”

By asking a question, you make sure that the other person is compelled to answer. And once you start conversation, it can just flow based on how you approach it. Asking for assistance is the best option if you want someone to help you out and get to know you.

3. “Can I help you with that bag/door/dog?”

By offering to help someone, you will always come across as a friendly and kind person. Obviously, you must be aware that another person might just be wary of you initially and that you shouldn’t force your presence on them. But if someone is having a hard day, a hand is always appreciated.

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4.”What’s your reaction to that act/bill/play?”

You can start conversation by asking about the other’s opinion on things. Of this some will be of importance to them; they will care about certain things and talk more about them. If you also have a view on the topic, then the talking gets easier and easier. This method also requires you to have knowledge and opinions about things around you.

5. “Hey! Don’t you know John/my cousin/that doctor?”

In this age of Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Twitter, to start conversation of any kind you only need to check for mutual friends. This will not only give you an opening line, but will give you an idea about the circles the other person hangs out in. After all, often some conversations are not worth pursuing.

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6. Do you by any chance hail from (your school/town/hobby class)?

Not only mutual friends or social networks present you with a cursory glance into a persons surroundings. If you have certain similarities in your school, interests or place of belonging, you will have a wide range of topics to cover and even have the opportunity to reminisce. This can be the best to start conversation about pasts and look into the future.

7. “Your blog/music/art is really interesting.”

Without praising another to the skies, it is a good sign to show interest and communicate your opinion about their profession or hobbies. You must emotionally as well as creatively be invested in another to have a meaningful conversation about their creative bent of mind. You must make sure that your compliments are sincere and say something more than being mere exaltation.

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8. “I have a lucrative opportunity for you.”

By following up on a person’s interests and background, you can start conversation by providing an opportunity to another person. This opportunity can be something as small as asking them to teach your nephew softball or commissioning a painting from them. By feeling useful or important allows another person meet you shoulder to shoulder in the art of conversation.

9. “Something really embarrassing happened to me the other day.”

While not only asking questions, you must also offer more insight about yourself. By telling your story and trying to come across as an honest person, be it plain, exciting or just you, you will let another know that you are open to new people and new experiences.

10. “This is to toast my best friend/ boss/ new couple!”

You must hone your public speaking skills to be able to communicate with a room full of people and one single person alike. By being confident and using humour as an accompaniment, you can win not only one but every heart in the room. And we believe that that is never a bad thing.

Featured photo credit: Samuel Zeller via stocksnap.io

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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