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8 Tips for Having Productive Conversation

8 Tips for Having Productive Conversation

Let’s face it. Not many of us were born as talkative, outgoing, extroverted individuals. We all have room for improvement, and what better area to improve in than conversation skills? In every area of life, whether it be socially, professionally, or even romantically, productive conversation skills are beneficial. Try adding these nine tips to your daily conversations and see what an impact it makes.

1. Pay attention to the other person

Active listening is one of the most important components of good conversation. If the person speaking can see that your attention is elsewhere, they will quickly lose interest in sharing what they have to say and in listening to what you have to share. So turn off the TV, quit glancing at your phone every five seconds, and give that person your undivided attention. You’ll find the favor returned when it’s your turn to speak!

2. Let people sell themselves

It’s simple. We as humans love to talk about ourselves or things that are happening to us. Productive conversations involve people sharing about themselves, stories of their past or present, and their dreams of what the future may hold.

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People are literally waiting to stalk about their latest hobby, their new car, or the funny thing that their toddler said at the dinner table. Let people tell their story! You will get to know them and connect more easily.

3. Summarize others’ viewpoints

One way you can show that you are indeed paying attention is to summarize what the other party has just said. Although people love to talk, going without responses that indicate that you are understanding and following along will cause them to feel like you have zoned out.

A quick recap of what has just been said, especially if the other person has been talking for a while, helps the conversation move along smoothly.

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4. Don’t interrupt

It’s simple. Don’t be rude. Unless an urgent issue arises in the conversation, don’t interrupt. Give the other person the space to communicate.

5. Make eye contact

A key part of active listening in a conversation is making eye contact. Now, I’m not suggesting you stare intently at the speaker’s eyes without blinking. That’s a staring contest, not a conversation. You can even look somewhere close, that may not be their eyes like their forehead or nose. But an attempt at eye contact lets the speaker know that you are present and listening.

6. Ask open questions

Ask questions that bring out more than just a yes or no, or one word in response. Open questions like “Why did you decide to study biology?” allow a person to open up and share more about themselves than simple one word answers, which can halt the flow of a conversation.

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7. Smile

It’s interesting that most of the tips in this list about conversation have nothing to do with you talking. But your body actions definitely are important. So smile! Your body language is crucial to creating a warm and welcoming environment for the other person to share.

Even when talking on the phone, smiling and other signals of body language can have a tangible effect on your tone, and therefore the conversation as a whole.

8. Find things in common

It is much easier to talk to someone when you know that they have an interest in what you are talking about. This way, you don’t feel like you’re boring them or forcing them to listen to a lecture. Conversation comes easier, and people connect more quickly when there are commonalities.

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How can you find out what you have in common? Try some of the previously mentioned tips. Ask questions, listen to their story, take notice of the things around them and maybe you can spark up a connection on high school over the class rings you both are wearing.

Have any other interesting or helpful conversation tips? Share them below

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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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