Are you always stuck in awkward silences? You’ve talked about the basic stuff like How are you?, How’s the weather?, How’s family? But you don’t know what else to ask. And now, you are sitting there, uncomfortably smiling…
Yes, believe me, or not, we’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s very hard to keep the conversation going if you know very little about the other person. But you can avoid it. Rather than fiddling yourself with what to ask next, here’s our simple yet useful guide to keep the conversation going.
How does one become a Good Conversationalist
Conversational skills are not something we are born with, but one can always learn them. A good conversationalist is always clear, concise, and considerate. Before you jump into any conversation, you need to keep these things in mind:
- Confidence : Generally, a skilled communicator uses as few words as possible but is very clear to communicate a message.
- Be polite :Remember, the next person is equally nervous as you. So, rather than showing how nervous you are, try to calm them and try to make them feel comfortable.
- Avoid any invading questions that might make the situation more awkard.
- Facial Expression can be deceiving, so don’t lead the converstion on how the other person react.
- Listen to them intently.
- Be Authentic: They are going to judge you no matter what. So, avoid doing or blurting out things just to please them.
To Keep a Conversation Going
Find Something to Say About Your Favorite Subjects
Everyone has an area they love to chat. Let’s say everyone is currently binging on some trendy web series; there you are- one fun subject to talk about. After talking for a while, you’ll get to know the vibe or interest of another person, and you can take the conversation ahead.
Try to show genuine interest in the person you’re speaking with, as though you’re eager to learn more about the issue they’re discussing. And for this, asking open-ended questions helps a lot.
Open-ended inquiries encourage the speaker to deliver a more accurate and in-depth response on any topic you are speaking on. Rather than giving simple yes or no answers, open-end interactions are much better to demonstrate curiosity and keep the conversation alive.
Blurt It Out
You don’t need to be too calculative all the time; rather, you should just blurt it out. Blurting is a communication style that entails expressing whatever comes to mind at the time rather than restraining oneself. And believe me, staying at the moment and letting the thoughts come naturally helps one ease while trying to make conversation with others.
But if you find yourself, sharing too much information, simply step back and let the other person carry out the conversation until you’ve gathered your thoughts again.
Allow the Other Party to Break the Silence
Oh! That awkward silence. If the other person suddenly stops talking, simply inquire if something is wrong but don’t just keep babbling which could even push the other person to the edge. It is much better to let the next person break the silence.
It might be that you have been talking for a long time and your companion has started to feel bored, or you might be talking on a subject that does not interest your communicating partner at all. So, it’s better to ask first and let them continue after the pause needed.
Look for Common Ground
Finding common ground is one of the simplest ways to start bonding with someone new. When two people or a group discover something common, it is exciting.
They might agree on something similar, or even more fun to talk about- when they don’t agree on something similar. Common ground creates a communication channel leading to trust in another person. You can try talking about food, drink, sports, TV programs, and any other easy topics at any gathering.
Well, you can also talk about potentially divisive themes like politics or religion but mind that- it may cause friction if you don’t already know where someone stands.
Pay Attention When They’re Speaking
Pay attention to what you’re hearing or listen intently. Active listening is making an effort to listen to and understand what the speaker has to say. It demands complete concentration, comprehension, and response which is integral to keep a conversation going.
Furthermore, listening and paying attention to what others have to say is also a sign of respect towards the speaking person. It leads to deeper and more rewarding relationships in the future.
Check to See if It’s a Good Time to Talk
You must respect the time of others if you want them to respect yours. Just because you are free to talk does not mean someone else also has plenty of time. Before jumping into chatting, make sure if the other person is free or not. And if not, it’s better to schedule it for later.
Make Sure You Don’t Come on Too Strong
When someone is eager to communicate, they often come across as needy. This makes other people less willing to speak with them. It is never wise to talk or deal with someone harshly or too forcefully. Also, asking too many questions in a row seems hostile to some people.
Ask for Advice or a Suggestion
A smart method to start a conversation about someone’s core interest is to ask them for advice on a topic they enjoy. By doing so, you will have an amazing conversation with this person, and you will also learn something useful.
When you strike someone with their hobby, they love talking about it. Asking a suggestion regarding that subject will help you bond over and create a topic on which you can come back later to share the experience.
Practice, Practice, and Practice Some More
Okay, maybe even after applying all of the above tips, you are not leading or enjoying the communication. It brings to the fact that you are not so good at it.
Now don’t fret- it is not a big issue. Some people don’t know how to lead the conversation or have not met the right group sharing the common interest. You just have to practice a little more, and eventually, you’ll get there!
Make Use of the Ford Rule
FORD stands for Family , Occupation , Recreation , and Dreams. You can always apply the FORD rule if you are stuck in a dead-end conversation zone. Any questions or interactions from this category helps to keep a conversation going and improve one’s conversation abilities.
Are You Talking Virtually or in Real
A person can behave differently while communicating online than doing it face-to-face. Being online, actually, lowers our inhibitions due to which people act ungenerously or open up more than they would do in person.
- To carry an in-person conversation : While carrying in-person communication, you need to pull the context from the available clues. For instance, you can talk about the brand of the bag the other person is carrying or the piece of jewelry they are wearing.
Finding anything to compliment, whether their clothing or something more personal like their vibe/energy, can help them soften and open up. And while carrying these conversations, make sure you are sitting in a relaxed way and making eye contact with the person you are talking to.
- To carry an online conversation : Texting is not for everyone. You may not get the exact response you’d want, and delayed responses are even more mood-killing.
It is possible that the person you’re trying to communicate with is preoccupied and not in a position to interact with you fully. Thus, it is important to ask if this is the right time to talk.
One more thing. The core disadvantage of texting is that many conversations get lost in translation, so being direct will help you during online communication. And please, do not overthink if another person does not have the same engaging capability as you have.
Don’t Be a Conversation Killer
In communication, talking and listening are the two key components, and if it is not balanced, it will kill the essence of communication. Let’s learn about the three basic conversation killers that discourage a good conversation:
Talking Too Much
Some people have an insatiable desire to talk about themselves. As a result, it appears like they are dominating the conversation. To elaborate, someone may simply tend to talk a little too much, similar to an anxious talker. While in some cases, you may be dealing with a conversational narcissist.
You can always tone it down with an anxious talker once you both feel comfortable, but conversational narcissists have an urge to exaggerate their importance to feel good about themselves. As a result, they only elevate themselves and their lives above everyone else’s.
Talking Too Little
Sometimes, talking too little discourages a conversation from happening. In such a situation, the very excited person about talking will also feel demotivated to communicate.
In the quest to make your point, you may sometimes shut others off while becoming overly enthusiastic about a topic. You may be doing it without even noticing it. Interrupting a discussion to talk about oneself is a huge mistake.
If we have that habit, we should teach ourselves to speak only after the other person has completed saying. Doing so creates a safe environment for others to communicate without feeling less important.
A good conversationalist is not some innate feature a person has, but they learn it while growing and with experience.
Whether you’re conversing with a new friend or an old one, showing that you’re actively listening, asking nonjudgmental and open questions, and simply being courteous and forthcoming will never go wrong.
It’s almost too easy to revert to our natural selfishness and sabotage interactions. The conversation killers mentioned above have a detrimental impact on your ability to understand others and destroy your relationship with them.
Therefore, we may have a more enjoyable and meaningful conversation by honing our communication abilities.