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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 August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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