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Last Updated on October 31, 2018

How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say

How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say

One of the BIGGEST problems you may face when trying to meet new friends is the awkward silence. Encountering this situation is so uncomfortable that it can even force you to avoid meeting new people in the first place, but there is a way to get around it.

In the past, I I struggled with this so much that I thought it could never be solved. I even thought it had to do with my DNA or something… but I proved myself wrong when I learned how to solve it.

Not knowing how to keep a conversation going can harm your social life, but if you know how to keep those words flowing, you can meet, talk to, and get to know pretty much anyone you like—creating great possibilities for friendship, fun and shared activities that you would otherwise have missed out on.

Why You Run out of Things to Say

After studying this in depth, I found patterns of behavior that can keep you from making great conversation with people. One of these common behaviors is the habit of filtering—holding back from saying something until you’ve “checked” with yourself to make sure that what you’re about to say is cool, impressive, smart, and interesting.

What does that do to your conversation ability? It kills it!

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Another problem is not learning to get in the mood for conversation. If you spent a whole day working or studying analytical or logical subjects, and you don’t know how to switch from that, then it can take a lot of time to warm up and start interacting with people socially.

You can overcome this simply by learning a few new skills, such as the ones listed below. Once you do that, you’ll be able to talk to new people, and make friends, much more easily.

How to Keep Conversations Going

Let’s get you started with a couple of basic,  yet solid techniques on how to be a great conversationalist:

Technique #1 No Filtering

    This is the reflex that allows you to say whatever goes on in your mind. No filtering, no checking with yourself  “would I sound cool if I say this?”. None of that.

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    The best way to practice this is to start doing it with people you kind of know—do you dare to try it? It’s fun to realize that you’re allowed to say whatever is on your mind, and no-one is going to judge you for it.

    As long as you don’t say anything that could land you in jail, you’re okay! People don’t care too much about how “awesome” what you’re saying is, because they’re too focused on how THEY are coming across. Get it? If so, let’s move on…

    Technique #2 “Interesting, tell me more!”

      This works 99% of the time. It’s a surefire technique, and it works especially well for beginners. People love to know that you’re interested in what they have to say, so if you show some interest, they’ll hang around and want to talk to you even more.

      All of the “oh! that’s interesting…”, “Hmm, I’ve never heard of that”, “Hmm, cool!”expressions are reactionary bits of conversation that prove to the other person that you’re really listening, and that’s very flattering to them.

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      Technique #3 Stories from everywhere

        Everyone knows that stories juice-up conversations, but most people only talk about stories their own lives. You don’t have to draw from your own experience when speaking with someone: you can use stories from anywhere, from stories that happened to people you know, to those you came across via the radio,TV, magazines, etc.

        How can you integrate the stories into your conversation? The key is to first realize that you can use them. You’ve already heard them, and the more interesting or weird they are, the harder they are to forget, so you’re all good.

        Your brain doesn’t lose them. When someone mentions something related to any of them, just tell the story, even if it’s not from your life. It can be any silly story, short or long, interesting, or totally awkward—just use it!

        People love talking to people who can just share stuff openly like that. These techniques should get you started, but if you want to take it to an advanced level—to the point where you can just have fun when talking to anyone, meet the right people you want in your life, and be able to make friends with them fast—then I recommend that you take a little time to learn more about how conversations work.

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        If you do that, you’ll make conversations far more interesting, with natural ease, avoiding all awkward silences that might prevent you from meeting the right friends that you would love to have around.

        The Bottom Line

        Now that you know the tricks to keep a conversation going, the next thing you should do it apply one of these tricks the next time you talk with someone.

        Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to use all these tricks at the same time, get used to one of these first. When you can master one of the tricks, you’ll feel more confident to apply the other techniques in your upcoming conversations too!

        If you’re looking for tips on how to start a conversation try the FORM technique!

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        More by this author

        Paul Sanders

        A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

        How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say What to Do When You Have No Friends and Feel Lonely 7 Tips How to Make Friends During College 5 Reasons Why Your Social Life Isn’t Improving, And What To Do About It How To Quietly Build A Social Life

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        Last Updated on February 21, 2019

        The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

        The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

        In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

        Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

        Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

        Conflicts are literally everywhere.

        Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

        Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

        Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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        Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

        Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

        Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

        The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

        Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

        Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

        How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

        Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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        Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

        Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

        How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

        Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

        Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

        Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

        How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

        Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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        Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

        Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

        How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

        Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

        Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

        Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

        How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

        Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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        Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

        Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

        How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

        Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

        Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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