Advertising
Advertising

10 Tips to Become a Great Conversationalist

10 Tips to Become a Great Conversationalist

Imagine you’re at a dinner party. Someone comes up to you and says “hello.” You make a little bit of small talk. And then there’s that awkward pause.

You don’t know what to say next. It’s like someone hit the pause button your mind. Admit it, it’s happened to you, hasn’t it? Well, it’s time we make sure that never happens again. Ever.

Here are 10 life hacks that will help you become a better conversationalist and make you the life of the party:

1. The recall method

This is a really effective technique used by comedians all the time. It’s called “The recall method.” If you can pull this off, chances are that it’ll make the conversation really memorable. The next time you’re chatting with someone (or a group of people) and a funny moment happens (which almost always happens, trust me), remember exactly what was talked about.

Advertising

Then, later on in the conversation, if it fits the context of what’s being talked about, bring up that exact same moment that everyone had laughed about earlier. You’ll be immediately be perceived as being clever and witty for doing this. It also shows that you were listening carefully to what was being talked about earlier.

2. Bring up memories immediately 

How many times have you had a conversation start off with, “Hey, how are you doing?” This happens almost every single time I run into someone. It’s as boring as it gets because the answer you usually get is “I’m good.” Instead of doing that, talk about a great memory that you had experienced with that person.

For example, “Hey, remember that time when we all went out in Barcelona and ended up singing “Shake It Off” at that dueling piano bar?  That was so funny!” I can almost guarantee you’ll get a better reaction. Try to bring up a funny or heartfelt memory. It can make a huge difference and will get the person to open up to you.

3. Buddy up

Sometimes you can’t do it alone and that’s okay. Maybe you’re tired. Maybe you’re feeling introverted today. For a lot of us, it’s really hard being charismatic, funny, witty and sharp all the time when you talk to people.

Advertising

One great way around this is to pair up with a good friend who’s really outgoing. Buddy up with someone and approach people in pairs. This way you have someone there that you can always lean on in case the new conversation doesn’t flow that well. It also gives you different dynamics in the conversation to play off of.

4. Be intensely curious

Have a genuine passion and curiosity to learn from others. One of the best ways to get them to open up about themselves is to ask them questions.

Make sure you listen carefully to them during the conversation and ask relevant questions. Do not ask questions for the sake of asking questions, though. Make sure it’s thoughtful and genuine.

5. Live an interesting life

Start by living the awesome life you’ve always dream of. Once you do that, you’ll have countless stories to tell other people.

Advertising

Take modern dancing classes. Try that new Soul Cycle class you’ve always wanted to check out. Travel to Barcelona like you always planned to. Write the book you’ve been dreaming of. Start the business you’ve been thinking about.

6. Be authentic 

Life’s too short to be someone you’re not.

Be comfortable in being the unique, wacky person that you are. I mean that in the best possible way. Those that truly belong in your life are the ones that will love you for exactly who you are.

7. Remember people’s names

One of the easiest ways to show that you care about someone is to remember their name. People respond much better if you show them that you remember who they are.

Advertising

One easy way to do this is to repeat their name right after they tell you. Or you can do word association. For example, for me personally, I’ll try to think of a celebrity with the same first name to help me remember it.

8. Mirroring

One way to make other people feel more comfortable in conversation is to mimic their style and energy. This is known as mirroring.

For example, if someone is a very high energy person, you have to elevate your energy levels to match theirs. I’ve tested this quite a bit and it does work really well.

9. Storytelling

People hardly remember data points, but they do remember great stories. One of the best ways to have a great conversation is to make sure you have a couple of amazing stories that you can tell perfectly.

One of the best ways to have a great conversation is to make sure you have a couple of amazing stories that you can tell perfectly. The way you tell it is important. You have to make it sound amazing.

10. Awesome introductions

When you introduce someone, don’t just introduce them by name. Tell a story about them and praise them for their accomplishments and achievements. People will really appreciate this and it creates a natural flow to a longer conversation.

More by this author

10 Tips to Become a Great Conversationalist The One Habit That Can Transform Your Life Forever 8 Signs You Need a Break 100 Tips to Help You Live An Amazing Life 10 Thing Successful People Do To Motivate Themselves

Trending in Communication

1 15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success 2 How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success 3 How to Turn Your Fear of Missing Out into a Joy of Missing Out 4 What Is Resilience and Why Is It Important? 5 Positive Motivation vs Negative Motivation: Which One Is Better?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

Advertising

Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

Advertising

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

Advertising

3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

Advertising

5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

Read Next