Have you ever tried having a conversation with someone, but instead of talking, you spent most of your time in an awkward silence? Whether you're trying to get to know someone better for personal reasons or for business reasons, there are some tips and tricks that can help you boost your conversation skills with everyone. If you have been searching for 10 ways to have a better conversation, this list will give you some foolproof advice to try out the next time you find yourself talking to someone interesting.
WHAT IS THE ART OF CONVERSATION?
Humans are social creatures, and we all know and love deep, meaningful conversations with others. For some, these conversations come more naturally. But even those who are shy, or can't think of what to say in a moment's notice, can work on their conversational skills to impress those around them. These 10 ways to have a better conversation will help you to feel comfortable and confident in your next talk with someone.
It helps to think of conversation as a two-way street. To be skilled at the art of conversation, you must be good at both listening and talking yourself. Even still, there are tips you can follow to ask more interesting questions of your conversational partner, or to help you tell more interesting stories yourself. Let's dive into the 10 ways to have a better conversation with someone you want to get to know so you can start connecting with people.
10 WAYS TO HAVE A BETTER CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE YOU WANT TO GET TO KNOW
Do you struggle with small talk? Find yourself running out of things to say mid-conversation? Try out some of these tips in your next conversation, and your conversations are sure to go from boring and dull to exciting and vibrant!
BEGIN YOUR CONVERSATION WITH SMALL TALK
You might despise small talk and want to dive deep into the important topics with someone you want to get to know. But there is a reason our conversations start with small talk about the weather, the news, or whatever situation you and your conversational partner are both in. Small talk allows you to start a conversation risk-free. If the person you're talking to doesn't seem receptive to your comments, you might be better off leaving them alone - no matter how interesting you think they are.
KEEP UP WITH THE NEWS AND CURRENT EVENTS
This brings us to our next tip about small talk and conversation in general - it helps to keep up with current events. You do not have to stay glued to your television in order to maintain your knowledge, but keeping tabs on the things that are happening in the world help feed our conversations. Maybe you saw a local news article about a new restaurant coming to your area and want to share it with your conversational partner. Or maybe there's an incoming storm to your area and you can both talk about how you're preparing for it. Talking about events that affect the both of you can instantly foster a connection.
INCREASE YOUR LISTENING SKILLS
While some people think that being a good conversationalist is all about how much you can talk with someone else, it really involves listening to the other person in the conversation as well. To be a better listener, try to encourage the other person to talk to you. For instance, try asking them open-ended questions that will prompt them to talk even more. If you think what they're saying is interesting, don't hesitate to let them know! Your conversational partner will probably be thrilled that you don't find them boring, too.
PAY ATTENTION TO CONVERSATIONAL HINTS AROUND YOU
This tip encourages you to be attentive to your surroundings when you are engaged in conversation. When you're searching for 10 ways to have a better conversation, one easy method is to look at their clothing, tattoos, or belongings. Is your conversational partner wearing a band t-shirt, for example?
Try striking up a conversation with them about their musical preferences. Perhaps they're carrying their stuff in a backpack with a football team on it, and you want to know if they saw the latest game. These easy clues about your conversationalist's interests will make you feel confident that there's always something to talk about.
TRY LEARNING UNIVERSAL FACTS ABOUT EACH OTHER
After you've started delving into small talk, you can start asking simple questions that will help you get to know your conversational partner better. You can always ask what their job is and maintain interest in their profession. You could even ask where the other person lives, or about some of their common interests. By trying to learn these simple facts, you are establishing a rapport and familiarity that can lead to further questions about their life and interests.
AVOID ANY SENSITIVE TOPICS
Even though you may aspire to know this person on a deeper level, you still want to keep it friendly and light-hearted in the beginning. When considering 10 ways to have a better conversation with someone, remember that while you may discuss current events, you should steer clear from anything too political or controversial. Topics like that can easily shut down a conversation and make the person you're speaking with feel uncomfortable.
Similarly, when figuring out your conversational partner's sense of humor, don't get too controversial too early. People have different tolerances and find different things funny. This means what offends one person might be hilarious to another - but until you know the difference, just play it safe instead. Of course, if you know this person pretty well, these topics are bound to come up and can even enrich a conversation.
KEEP AN AGENDA IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND
As much as some people try, it is impossible to completely predict how a conversation will flow ahead of time. That said, it can still be helpful to keep a running list in your mind of the topics you might want to discuss.
If it's someone you're interested in, you might have specific questions that you're curious to know the answers to. Even if you're just asking silly questions to get your conversational partner talking, it can be easier to chat when you have a bullet-point list in your mind of topics for when the conversation runs dry.
MAINTAIN HONESTY AND OPENNESS WHEN CHATTING
Many people pick up on the vibes of the people they're chatting with, even when they don't realize it. To avoid giving off any negative vibes or energy that could turn your conversational partner away, try to stay open to your discussion and their opinions. If your conversational partner is confiding in you, refrain from passing any judgments or making them feel uncomfortable in any way. Likewise, when you are talking to them, stay honest and kind about your thoughts. By keeping things civil and light-hearted, the conversation will stay alive.
ALLOW FOR SOME MOMENTS OF SILENCE
Even though these tips are ideal for keeping the conversation flowing, it is natural for there to be some breaks in conversation with anyone. If you're intrigued by 10 ways to have a better conversation, you must know that some silence is inevitable in the conversation. Instead of panicking the moment you and your conversational partner go quiet, use this time to think about what else you want to discuss. Having a brief pause can give you both a moment to recharge and collect your thoughts so the conversation doesn't become stale.
ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO THEIR BODY LANGUAGE
It is said that a huge chunk of our conversation actually comes from nonverbal communication. If the person is interested in what you have to say, you may notice that you are mirroring each other. This occurs when your body language "mirrors" the other person. For instance, if they cross their leg and you cross yours soon after, you are showing unconscious signs that you are interested in the conversation.
On the flip side, you also want to be aware of any signs that they might not be so interested in chatting any longer. If your conversational partner is showing signs of disengaging, you probably want to cut the conversation off. As much as you may still want to keep talking, you do not want them to think of your conversation as unpleasant and taxing on their energy. Even good conversations must come to an end sometimes, and it's a skill to recognize when the conversation should come to a close.
Now that you've reviewed 10 ways to have a better conversation, you are ready to get some practice in! You can start by striking up conversations with strangers anywhere - from the grocery store to the workplace - and practicing your tips and tricks. Over time, you will feel confident in your conversationalist abilities, and you'll be able to approach people you're interested in without feeling as nervous and unprepared. It helps to remember that nobody always knows the right words to say, but that by listening and asking questions, you can still have an amazing conversation. To become an engaging conversationalist, simply start talking!