Advertising

14 Tricks To Better Conversations

14 Tricks To Better Conversations
Advertising

Do you think there may be room for improvement in your conversational skills? Perhaps you could use some new conversation starters or something to fill those awkward silences with? Here, chatting is made easy with Jonathan Roseland of Limitless Mindset’s 14 conversation tips:

Being a great conversationalist is a combination of mindset and methods. Luckily though, you can fake it till you make it. Here I will cover how you can ‘steal’ the conversation while appearing magnanimous, a sweet body language trick, applying economics concepts to increase the attention people show you and my favourite ‘pick up line’ to starting a conversation.

Start Conversations with a Question

You want to begin your conversation with a bang (first impressions matter!) so if possible start with an open ended question that is relevant to the environment that will engage your new friends.

The best ‘pick up line’ to begin an interesting conversation

Line: Pardon me. Do you mind if I get your opinion on something…?
Follow this up with an engaging question, here’s a few I like:

• Can you recommend any unique cocktails here?
• Do you know this town well? Can you recommend a restaurant/bar, etc?
• Where did you buy that clothing item/accessory/cell phone?
• What do you think of this event?

Advertising

Applying Relational Economics to Conversation

This is a very important concept to grasp so please pay attention. Imagine that your relationship is like a bank, you can make emotional withdrawals and emotional deposits to this bank. If the balance gets too low, then the relationship is over or becomes very unpleasant. This applies to any relationship, be it your mom or the person you just met at the bar. Here’s some examples in a conversational context.

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 22.47.48.png

    A brand new conversation is starting basically at very close to a zero balance, if you make too many withdrawals you’re done!

    Conversational-Relational Supply and Demand Arbitrage

    Continuing the metaphor of our relationships being a bank, we want to practice a little supply and demand arbitrage to make people more interested in us. Here’s how this is done: make a large emotional deposit. Then make a withdrawal, if possible use humor. What you are doing is giving them an emotional high associated with you and then taking it away. True to human form we want what’s been taken away from us even more. Here’s an example of how this could be done.

    Jonathan: Chris I’m really impressed with how you’ve been able to take something that you are passionate about and make a living helping people. What was it that inspired you to first try this?

    Advertising

    Chris: Thanks Jonathan! What inspired me was…
    Jonathan: You are going about your marketing all wrong. You aren’t going to meet your goals if you keep doing things that way. I have marketing firm and I’ve produced some really spectacular results for clients in similar businesses to yours. I think I have some ideas that could help.

    Don’t go to overboard with this method though! Too much of an emotional rollercoaster will not make for good relationships.

    Body Language Mirroring

    This is the practice of copying the gestures and posture of the person you are chatting with. Are their legs crossed? Cross yours. Are their hands on the table? Put your hands on the table. Fairly simple. Timing is the key to maximizing the effectiveness of this technique. Wait till they mention:

    • Something that you find interesting
    • Something that they think you will find interesting
    • Something they are proud of

    Then mirror them. This subconsciously communicates that you empathize with the way they feel about whatever topic. A little while later break the mirroring, on a subconscious level they will wonder if they said something wrong and it will increase their interest level in you. Then mirror them again at a high point in the conversation.

    Advertising

    How to Talk about Yourself and NOT be Boring

    You may be an absolutely fascinating person but the majority of people just don’t want to hear you talking about yourself. As you can imagine as a continuation of the economics metaphor, if you make a large emotional deposit first they will pay a whole lot more attention and be more interested in what you have to say about yourself. Alternate between making emotional deposits but keep talking how interesting you are and what you do.

    Practice Topic Depth Escalation

    It’s well said that small minds talk about people, moderate minds talk about events and great minds talk about ideas. It’s very rare that you can begin a conversation by diving into deep conceptual territory. So you want to start with small talk and humorous banter, then ask for people’s opinions on an event that occurred recently, then transition into talking about ideas surrounding the event. Example:

    Conversation Intro: Hey how has your day been?
    Event: Are you and Tracy doing anything special for valentine’s day?
    Idea: I saw this blog on the internet recently about the how our modern day concept of love is completely skewed from the traditional definition of love which is that of ongoing acts of sacrifice to something great than oneself.

    If you want to do a controversial issue idea, you can always ask “How would you respond to people who say…?” This way, you haven’t directly challenged someone but you have introduced another element into the conversation.

    Ask them to be Interesting

    Pretty much everyone is interesting in their own way and they probably don’t get to share it nearly as much as they would like to. So give them the opportunity and they will think the world of you. Here’s the simple line I like to use: So tell me something interesting about yourself, Chris?
    This is a great line that makes you seem charismatic as well as lets you know what they find interesting, which will surely make for good conversation.

    Advertising

    How to ask people what they do

    You will come across as more interesting if you ask the question this way.
    So how do you spend your time when you aren’t __________________?
    The blank should be something relevant to context, environment or something that you know about them. Examples:
    So how do you spend your time when you aren’t writing fascinating blog posts?
    So how do you spend your time when you aren’t on Facebook?
    So how do you spend your time when you aren’t hanging out with beautiful women?
    So how do you spend your time when you aren’t at the gym?

    Demonstrate Your Listening Skills

    If you’re going to focus one thing to make you a better conversationalist, I would say to improve your listening skills. This will be another blog subject all together. When they are talking about a subject they find interesting, follow up with this question:
    “That’s interesting … say more about that…”
    Also ask probing questions such as:
    So what influenced you to make that decision?

    Speaking Pace

    In general, fast paced speech is a sign of nervousness and slow paced speech is a sign of confidence. So most of the time I go with a slower pace but if I’m talking with someone who has a noticeably fast pace, then I will mirror them and go fast.

    Magnanimous Conversation Stealing

    This has probably happened to you before: you are discussing something, someone else jumps in and makes the topic you are discussing all about them. This is called conversation stealing and it’s annoying, if you do it wrong. The correct way to do it is to make an emotional deposit before the steal and then make an emotional deposit at the end of the steal. That way you are keeping the attention high throughout and you don’t look like a jerk for stealing the conversation. Example:
    Chris: So my kid is just doing awesome at football practice.
    Me: That’s great. I definitely know where he gets his work ethic from! My kid has just got his black belt in Karate and is traveling to Korea for a student exchange program. Since you’ve traveled abroad extensively in Asia, can you give me some suggestions to give to him?
    As you can see here, I made an emotional deposit first by complimenting Chris and his kid, I stole the conversation and then I linked it right back to him and made another emotional deposit.

    Compliment Strategically

    Compliments are very powerful tool when used correctly, the right way is to compliment people on the things they are proud of. For example:
    • if a person is in great shape and obviously spends a lot of time in the gym, compliment them on their work ethic and commitment to taking care of themselves.
    • If someone is particularly successful in their career or business, compliment them on their intelligence, creativity and insights to capitalize on opportunity.
    • If someone is particularly well dressed, compliment them on their good taste.
    What you don’t want to do is compliment people on things that they were born with or did not have to work for. For example:
    • Don’t tell a gorgeous young girl that she is beautiful, she already knows this well and probably hasn’t worked at all for it.
    However there are situations where people are proud or have a sense of entitlement that you can complement if you want to stroke their ego. For example:
    • I have a very distinctive last name, when people tell me that they like it they just made an emotional deposit with me of about $100,000!

    Advertising

    Merge Groups

    If you are at a party or social event, there will be multiple groups of people standing around chatting. Over the course of the event you will migrate between different groups. As you see one of your previous groups in the physical proximity to your current group, invite them to join together. Make a joke about this if appropriate:
    I have some more friends over here to introduce you all to, can I arrange to get a merger & acquisition of our groups?

    You are going to be excellent at remembering names, since you are going to read our article How to Remember Names, you will know the names of everyone in each group and can introduce everyone. This makes you look like a true social Rockstar and sets you up as the dominant leader of both groups. Actually being able to pull this off will increase your social proof by about a 10,000%.

    14 Methods and Mindset Tricks To Make You A More Interesting Conversationalist | Limitless Mindset

    More by this author

    Siobhan Harmer

    Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

    Best Life Hack Sites – 100 Most Useful Websites on The Internet Why You Should Follow Your Passion Instead of the Money 9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive This Chart Shows You Where And Why Emotional Pain Becomes Physical Discomfort 30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

    Trending in Communication

    1 I Want To Be Happy: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness 2 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 3 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People 4 What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People 5 13 Simple Habits of Happiness To Change Your Outlook on Life

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on July 20, 2021

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
    Advertising

    You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

    Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

    Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

    Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

    1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

    According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

    “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

    Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

    Warming up

    If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

    If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

    Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

    Advertising

    1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
    2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
    3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

    Stay hydrated

    Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

    To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

    Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

    Meditate

    Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

    Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

    Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

    Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

    2. Focus on your goal

    One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

    Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

    Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

    Advertising

    Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

    If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

    3. Convert negativity to positivity

    There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

    ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

    It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

    Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

    Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

    Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

    4. Understand your content

    Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

    Advertising

    However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

    “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

    Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

    Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

    One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

    5. Practice makes perfect

    Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

    In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

    Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

    6. Be authentic

    There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

    Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

    Advertising

    Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

    To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

    With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

    Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

    7. Post speech evaluation

    Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

    Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

    We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

    You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

    Improve your next speech

    As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

    Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

    Advertising

    • How did I do?
    • Are there any areas for improvement?
    • Did I sound or look stressed?
    • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
    • Was I saying “um” too often?
    • How was the flow of the speech?

    Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

    If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

    Reference

    Read Next