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Sorry, These Phrases in Conversations Do Not Make You Funny, but Boring

Sorry, These Phrases in Conversations Do Not Make You Funny, but Boring

Do you feel like every conversation you have is so boring?

Find yourself drifting off mid-sentence?

Struggle to focus on the person you’re speaking to?

It doesn’t mean that you’re boring, but it could mean that you’re inadvertently using common conversation killers.These are phrases that can bring almost any conversation grinding to a halt.

While you might not realize it, you could be the one making your conversations dull.

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Luckily, that’s easy to fix.

Read on to find out more about what kills a conversation, and how you can put some life back into your communication.

Killer Phrase No. 1: “Oh, really?”

A friend shares some exciting news that they’ve been dying to tell you.

How do you respond?

If it’s with, “Oh, really?” then chances are the conversation won’t go much further.

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Your friend will respond with something like, “Yes, really…” or “I know, I couldn’t believe it either!”

There’s no opportunity for them to give you more detail, and you haven’t given much indication that you’re interested in what they have to say – a big conversation killer.

It’s easy to revert to saying, “Oh, really?” when you’re not sure what to say, but it’s not hard to break the habit with a little extra thought.

What you should say instead

Let’s say your friend has just told you about a scholarship they’ve been awarded. Instead of bringing the conversation to a halt with another, “Oh, really?”, try the following strategies:

  • Ask open-ended questions like, “How did you feel when you found out?”
  • Ask about specific details, like, “What did you have to do to apply?”
  • Talk about a similar experience you’ve had, and compare details, like, “I know when I applied for a scholarship it took a lot of work.”

Killer Phrase No. 2: “Awesome”, “Cool” or “Great”

It’s nice to give the person you’re speaking to positive feedback, but one word replies like ‘awesome” and “cool” don’t add much to the conversation.

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If you really like what they have to say, why not make a bit more effort to express that?

Or if you’re just saying “cool” because you’re not sure what else to say, why not ask some questions instead?

What you should say instead

Being positive is great, but it’s important not to reply to everything with just a single word – that just doesn’t take the conversation anywhere.

Here’s what you should try instead:

  • Specify why you think what they’ve said is cool/awesome/great, saying things like, “I love that you’ve decided to go vegetarian because I’ve always been passionate about animal rights.”
  • Ask for more information, saying something like, “Cool, I’ve never heard of that film – can you tell me more?”

Killer Phrase No. 3: “-yeah, I…”

Are you one of those people who just can’t help but interrupt during conversations?

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You’re sure you know exactly what the other person is about to say, so why not finish their sentence for them, or butt in with your reply?

Interrupting the person you’re speaking to can be extremely off-putting for them, and won’t make them keen to carry on the conversation.

Listening is so important when communicating, so don’t become so preoccupied with what you’re going to say that you ignore the other person.

What you should say instead

If you struggle to stop interrupting others, try practicing active listening. [1]

Listening involves five stages:

  1. Receiving. It’s impossible to properly hear what the other person is saying, so keep quiet and focus carefully on their words.
  2. Understanding. Taking a few moments to understand what’s being said allows you to reply in a more informed way. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re uncertain – it’s a great way to show that you’re interested.
  3. Evaluating. At this stage, you’ll be forming an opinion about what’s just been said. Don’t be afraid to disagree, as this can lead to some interesting debates.
  4. Responding. Be sure the other person has finished speaking before you respond, and focus on positive body language, like nodding and making eye contact.
  5. Remembering. Trying to remember what’s been said to you helps show that you’re interested, and lets conversation flow better. Avoiding interruption and distractions lets you retain as much info as possible.

A conversation should never end in boredom.

Follow these tips to keep your conversations interesting, engaging, and enjoyable for you and the person you’re speaking to.

Reference

More by this author

Eloise Best

Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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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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