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The One Rule to Keep Every Conversation Going Naturally

The One Rule to Keep Every Conversation Going Naturally

How often are you speaking to someone new, feeling like the conversation’s going pretty well, and then…

Silence hits. You don’t know what to say. They don’t know what to say. This is so awkward. What do you do?

Luckily, there’s one simple rule that can keep every conversation flowing naturally, no matter who you’re speaking to.

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Whatever you say, make sure 30% of it is new information.

No conversation will last long with the same information being repeated over and over – it gets boring, and there’s no new stimulation.

When you don’t add new information, the conversation becomes like an inverted pyramid. The more you talk, the less information is exchanged. By using the 30% rule, both you and your friend will be learning new things all the time, keeping the conversation fresh and interesting.

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    Example #1

    Friend: “The food at that restaurant was amazing!”

    What you shouldn’t say: “Yeah, it was good.”

    What you should say: “It was – I especially liked the way they seasoned their fries. It reminded me of another place I visited last week… (continue by adding info on the other restaurant).

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    Example #2

    Friend: “That test was WAY too difficult, I’m sure I failed.”

    What you shouldn’t say: “True, it was pretty hard.”

    What you should say: “You’re right, which question did you find the hardest? The essay on language wasn’t too bad, I wrote about… (talk about how you answered the question).

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    Why only 30% new information?

    If you add too much new information, the conversation can easily become one-sided. The person you’re speaking to might feel like you’re not listening to them, you’re simply reciting lots of things you know – and that’s a more of a lecture than a conversation!

    The two things you need for the 30% rule to work.

    Both people need to be interested in continuing the conversation.

    If the person you’re speaking to has somewhere to be, is getting tired, or just doesn’t feel like talking, this rule probably won’t work. That’s okay – just carry on the conversation at another time, when you both feel like chatting.

    The current topic can’t be expanded on.

    Not every topic offers lots of opportunity for you to add new information. If someone says something like,”That banana was tasty,” you might feel there’s not much to add. In this case, simply acknowledge what the other person said and then bring up a new topic, one that has more room for discussion.

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    Eloise Best

    Content Writer

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

    You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

    1. Connecting them with each other

    Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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    It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

    2. Connect with their emotions

    Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

    For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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    3. Keep going back to the beginning

    Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

    On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

    4. Link to your audience’s motivation

    After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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    Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

    5. Entertain them

    While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

    Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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    6. Appeal to loyalty

    Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

    In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

    7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

    Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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