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3 Hacks To Help You Deepen A Conversation And Get To Know Someone Better

3 Hacks To Help You Deepen A Conversation And Get To Know Someone Better

Introducing yourself to someone, networking with people, making a friend, arguing with someone – all these human interactions begin with one simple thing: conversation. Without a conversation, two people would never get to know about each other, or learn if the other is compatible or not.

Conversations are important. They let you express your feelings. They help you understand what the other person is trying to say. They let you know if the other person is a kind, generous and helpful human being, or just a nasty and mean person. But sometimes it is difficult to have a meaningful conversation. We are unsure how to proceed and what to say. It can seem like a daunting task. So here are three hacks to deepen the conversation with another person to get to know them better.

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Share a mutual interest

One of the best ways to start and deepen a conversation is to find a mutual interest. It could be anything, starting from the most common topics like movies, actors, a new restaurant, or something more serious like politics or global affairs. Whichever it is, having something common helps people to bond over this shared interest, and allows deeper conversation, than to just continue with small talk. For example, I became best friends with a guy in university while talking about Pokemon. So discovering the topics to bond over and have a conversation with can come from anywhere.

When you talk about a topic that both participants in a conversation has interest in, it becomes easier to feel companionship towards the other person. It helps you feel relaxed and allows you to be happy. This in turn affects what you think about the other person’s character. If the other person has a similar interest on a topic like you, it tends to make that person more likable.

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Rant

This seems like an odd way to have a conversation, but hear me out first. Ranting occurs when you feel stressed out about something. When you are feeling unhappy and need someone to listen to you, having a rant can often lead to having a deep conversation. When you are upset and you keep talking about your negative feelings, you can judge you is actually lending you an ear, and who is just pretending. This helps in differentiating between different people’s characters. Also, ranting helps you let out steam and feel lighter.

One of my present best friends emerged when we used to rant together about university and studies. When you rant about something, judging by the other person’s reactions, you can tell if they are also into it in the same as you are. When you are annoyed about something and you discover that another person also feels the same way about the same thing, then having that conversation helps you feel less alone and provide a sense of belonging.

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For example, any time I got frustrated with problems in classes, I would rant with this other girl who was in the same year as me. Over time, we developed a really good friendship since we both were usually in the same page, and thus could have an expressive conversation whenever we sat down for a chat. Who would have thought that all those evening rants would help so much?

Be a genuine responder

Sometimes, the reason we do not get into a deep conversation is because we forget to respond, or don’t respond genuinely. A response can be anything, giving our shoulder for the other person to cry on, listening instead of talking, trying to comprehend the other person’s point of view. Ask question, inquire about the other person’s wishes, maybe tell a personal story that you are comfortable with sharing in such a conversation. Sometimes it is better to listen to other person instead of talking. Everyone should have turns to express themselves in a conversation.

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Having a good response allows the other person to feel comfortable and open up more, and thus deepening the conversation. I have a friend with whom I don’t always have time to talk with every day. But from time to time, we decide to sit down together and have long chats over dinner or coffee. Response becomes the key here. Sometimes I talk and she listens, and then offers her sympathy or some advice. Then she starts speaking and I listen, to understand and to care. It is a mutual relation, and without having genuine responses, our conversations would not have been so deep.

Sometimes, despite following these life hacks, you may still end up with not much to say, but that’s OK. The key point is to keep trying. When you meet a like-minded person, you will notice the ease with which the conversation will flow.

Also, remember that disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean you have to be disagreeable. It is perfectly rational to not agree with all the points when having a conversation with someone, but mutual respect should still remain so as to not ending the conversation on a bad note.

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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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