Advertising
Advertising

The 12 Golden Rules of Great Conversation: Part 1 of 2

The 12 Golden Rules of Great Conversation: Part 1 of 2
Golden Rules of Conversation
    Golden Rules of Conversation

    All great conversations share common elements. Familiarize yourself with each of the 12 Golden Rules, and you will improve your interpersonal communication skills immediately.

    1. Great Descriptions

    Do you want to sound more interesting? Then start with your descriptions. The best communicators use more creative names for things – instead of using obvious descriptive names, such as, “here’s some more beer…” try, “here’s some more poison…” or “here’s some more liquid courage…” or reference the commercial, “this Bud’s for you…” You get the idea? Don’t default to the trite word just because you’re used to always saying it that way.

    Advertisers and good writers know that using visual imagery and emotion is the fastest way to your heart (and wallet). People prefer visual imagery and emotionally packed words. Instead of saying “it was cold” you could say that you “couldn’t even feel your fingers.”

    Instead of: “That’s a huge burger!”

    Paint a picture: “That thing is a heart attack on a plate!”

    Advertising

    Instead of: “I’m so upset, I’m gonna need to calm down.”

    Paint a picture: “I’m so upset, I’m gonna need to go buy a decaf iced coffee…”

    2. Great Contrasts and Comparisons

    What if I asked you how your trip to Disney World was? You could say something boring like, “It was fun…” Or you could include a quick contrast to make your phrase twice as interesting, “It was fun…no one fell off a roller coaster or anything…so it was fun…”

    You can always state what something is not like. “I’m very upset, not angry upset, but nervous upset.” Or “That’s not trickledown economics, that’s more like mist down economics…” People enjoy hearing contrasts. Stating an exception helps clarify, add contrast, and dimension.

    Many radio personalities use this technique to add balance and substance to their opinions (plus it helps them fill air time). Instead of saying, “I think he’s an excellent quarterback…” they may say something like, “I think he’s an excellent quarterback…now I’m not saying he’s Joe Montana…but he’s really good…”

    Advertising

    When you use comparisons, don’t be afraid to expand and explain them. “She’s gorgeous, she’s at the highest level of gorgeous…higher than Kim Kardashian gorgeous… and it doesn’t get much higher than that…”

    3. Great Non-Verbal Communication

    Most experts agree – non-verbal communication is often more important than the words you speak. Psychologists have consistently discovered that people are the most drawn to those who have energy in their voice and mannerisms.

    Take your listener on a roller coaster ride. This is the greatest metaphor for figuring out how to use energy more effectively. You cannot simply inject energy into every word you speak and hope that works. The trick is to vary your energy and inflection. Stay away from a flat, monotone voice. When you speak, vary the energy you put into each word or phrase. Try to emphasize the important words. Vary your volume; speak slightly louder for important phrases. Treat your voice like a roller coaster – are you taking the audience on a fun ride or a boring ride? Are there some dips and lulls?

    Control your speed. Great conversationalists can change their speed at will. This works because when your speed never changes, your vocal patterns are predictable. And predictable = boring. Is it important? Then try saying it more slowly. Poor conversationalists tend to talk at the same rate and often too quickly. Speak in chunks, and don’t be afraid of a pause.

    Unconscious habits. Can any of the following nicknames describe you? Anxious Eyes? Statue Face? Mumble Mouth? Lethargic Larry? You may not even be aware of a bad habit; try to be more conscious of what your body does during an interaction. Ask a close friend for objective feedback.

    Advertising

    Gesture more. People enjoy movement, and gesturing is an easy and free way to add this entertaining element to your conversations.

    4. Great Outlook

    Great conversationalists are always humble and have a positive outlook. They may qualify phrases with modest setups like, “I don’t know a lot, but I do know that she…”

    When they respond to someone, they look for the positive parts. Rather than saying, “That’s stupid” they say, “Well at least you didn’t have to ____ .”

    5. Great Human Traits

    It seems very obvious, but expressing human emotion is key to great conversation. Did they get a raise? Act thrilled and happy for them! Is this the first time seeing them in a few weeks? Act excited to see them! Are you eating a delicious piece of chocolate German cake – then say so! Describe how wonderful it is and how it makes you feel. Poor conversationalists often have difficulty expressing their emotions and feelings. If someone buys you a gift, just saying, “thank you” is not enough. Express your appreciation non-verbally as well. Conversations without the human elements can wither and die.

    Advertising

    6. Great Intersecting Interests

    Everyone has a bucket of interests that they love to discuss. You may love talking about butterfly mating habits and the other person may love discussing fashion trends of 17th European Royalty. You may assume that if you just talk about the other person and their interests all day, the conversation will go along swimmingly. Not so. Good conversation is never one-sided. Even the most selfish people want to hear about your opinions and your thoughts and your interests sometimes. Great conversationalists are constantly searching for where their interests and their conversational partner’s interests intersect. Think Venn diagram. When you find these intersections of interests, keep the conversation honed in around those topics.

    What if they like to ski but you never have? At the very least, discuss a topic that is similar to the topic they enjoy. You could probably regale them with the story about how you went mountain climbing and they would still be interested.

    To be continued in Part 2…

    More by this author

    The 12 Golden Rules of Great Conversation: Part 1 of 2 The 12 Golden Rules of Great Conversation: Part 2 Defend Against Any Bully in 2 Simple Steps Don’t Let These 4 Habits Ruin Your Conversations Start a Conversation with a Stranger without Sounding Desperate

    Trending in Communication

    1 15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success 2 27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down 3 How to Find Motivation When You’re Totally Burnt Out 4 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life 5 Top 10 Online Learning Sites To Advance Communication Skills at Work

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on October 9, 2018

    27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down

    27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down

    Who has never gone through some ups and downs in the life? But some people can feel better in a quicker way than others because they’ve found their own remedies to heal the bad feelings.

    If you haven’t found yours, these ways will help you instantly feel better and ditch that negative self talk when you’re feeling bad about yourself:

    Advertising

    1. Listen to the songs you loved when you were in high school or university, this will recall you of the old good times.
    2. Write something. Write down how you feel as a way to express your thoughts if you don’t feel like talking to anyone.
    3. Draw something. Draw anything you want because no one’s going to judge your drawing skills.
    4. Read the postcards or letters your friends or family sent you before, remind yourself there are people who always remember you.
    5. Silently think of a day or moment which you truly enjoyed and try to recapture that very first feeling. Was it the day of your graduation? The moment you traveled with your loved one?
    6. Take out your photo albums and go over your childhood photos.
    7. Cry when you feel like doing so. There’s nothing wrong with crying; cry out all your fear and stress and just face the truth after crying.
    8. Sing loudly like no one can hear you. Do you know that in Japan, people always sing karaoke to relieve stress?
    9. Cook a nice meal for yourself or for your family.
    10. Read your previous diary entries and look at your great memories.
    11. Dress up nicely to feel happier.
    12. Don’t stay in your bed! Get your laptop or a book and sit in a coffee place.
    13. Take a walk outside and feel the fresh air.
    14. Sweat yourself! Go jogging or play some sports.
    15. Pick up the musical instrument you used to play a lot and start to play it.
    16. Tidy up your desk or wardrobe, you’ll feel good that you’re being productive and actually doing something.
    17. Watch some funny videos, sure you can find a lot of them on Youtube.
    18. Eat something you like, be it a chocolate cake, or an ice-cream. Just please yourself with the flavour you like.
    19. Re-read your favorite book and write down the sentences or passages that you love.
    20. Watch a new movie, there must be a movie which you’ve always interested in but had no time to watch it.
    21. Do something nice that no one will notice, say picking up a rubbish in the street and throw it to a trash bin.
    22. Call your best friend and just talk whatever you want! Human beings are social animals after all, connecting with people close to you will make you feel better.
    23. Do voluntary work and help people in need, you’ll feel happy and satisfied.
    24. Get drunk with your close friends at home – a safe place for you to get drunk and get crazy. Let loose and have fun with your very close friends.
    25. Write an email or a note to a friend who you care about.
    26. Get out of your routine life and meet new friends. Get out of your comfort zone! Meeting new people can give you new inspirations in life.
    27. Look into the mirror and smile. Act like today’s already a wonderful day. How we act affects how we feel. It’s difficult to go on feeling sad if you’re trying to smile!

    Remember:

    Advertising

    It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.  — Epictetus

    If you want to feel better, change what you’re doing because obviously what you’re doing doesn’t make you happy!

    Advertising

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Advertising

    Read Next