How to Improve Your Everyday Conversations
Can you get better at your conversational skills? Absolutely.
It may take some time to transform the conversational behavior that’s been entrenched all through your life, but it is achievable.
To not make this longer than required let’s just skip right to some general mistakes most of us have made in conversations and some solutions to these problems.
One of the most significant things in a discussion is not what you say, but the way you say it. A change in these practices can make a huge differentiation in your tone and body language is a crucial part of any communication. Here are a few things that you have to keep in mind:
- Just slow down. When you are thrilled about something it’s natural to get excited and start to talk at a rapid pace. Take a moment to breathe and slow down. It will make it a lot easier for others to pay attention and for you to comprehensibly deliver what you want to say to them.
- Speak up. You should not hesitate talk as loud as you must to for people to pay attention to you.
- Speak in a clear tone. Don’t mutter or mumble.
- It’s alright to show emotions. People would get bored after a while if you speak in a monotonous voice. Let your emotions reflect in your voice.
- Take a moment. Slowing down your conversation as well as adding a little pause between sentences could create a bit of excitement and anticipation. People would begin to genuinely get interested in listing to what you’re saying. Listen to good podcasts on the internet. Pay attention to how using tiny pauses between sentences makes what they are saying appear even more exciting.
- Learn a little about how to improve your body language as it can make the conversation a lot more exciting.
When in conversation with somebody you just meet or when the typical few topics have been covered, an uncomfortable silence or atmosphere may emerge. Or you may just become uneasy, not knowing precisely why.
- If you’re not sure how to move the conversation forward, you can always talk about the weather or the latest news. It’s a good idea to stay up to date on the latest water-cooler topics. Like what were the cliffhangers or twists on the most recent episode of a popular TV series.
- Comment on the decor of the party, or the kind of music that is playing in the background. You can always start discussing anything or anyone at the party.
- Increase your rapport. If you feel edgy or strange when you meet somebody for the first time, just presume rapport. What I mean by this is that you visualize how you generally feel when you meet one of your close friends. And act as if that this new colleague is one of your close friends. Don’t exaggerate it, though, you may not want to get too close right away. But if you visualize this, you’ll go into an optimistic emotional position. And you’ll be more open and start a conversation with this new individual with a smile and a welcoming and comfortable manner. Since that’s how you chat with your pals. It may sound a bit crazy or too simple. But it truly works.
Don’t Talk About Sensitive or Negative Topic
If you’re in a small get together or where you are meeting some people, you should not discuss some particular topics. Discussing your ill health or affairs, your awful job or boss, technical jargon that only you and someone else in your field understand or anything that could ruin the mood of a conversation. You should always try to avoid such topics. You should not discuss religion and politics with strangers, as these are always a sensitive and personal topic.
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway
Don’t be like the majority of the folks. Don’t just wait impatiently for your turn to talk, also check your pride and ego. Learn to actually listen to what the person is really saying.
When you begin to actually listen, you’ll pick up on lots of possible paths in the discussion. But stay away from yes or no type of questions as they will not offer you a great deal of information. If somebody mentions that they went fishing with their friends last week, you can, for instance, ask:
- Where did you go fishing?
- What do you like generally regarding fishing?
- Did you do anything else besides fishing?
The person will dig deeper into the topic, providing you more information to work with and extra paths for you select from.
If they say that they don’t know, at first, don’t give up. Poke a little deeper. Question again. They obviously know. You just have to give them a little time to think about it. And as they begin to open up, the discussion becomes fascinating because it’s not on auto-pilot any longer.
Don’t Ask too Many Questions
If you ask lots of questions the exchange can feel like you are interviewing the person. Or like you don’t have much to add. One option is to use both questions and statements. For example, in the conversation above, you could avoid the question and say:
- Yeah, it’s a great way to just get away with your pals and unwind over the weekend. We like to go camping and play cricket or football.
- Great. We went out in my friend’s ferry previous week.
And then the dialogue can smoothly proceed from there. And you can talk about the cricket or football, or your favorite beer.
Don’t be an attention-grabber
Many people have been guilty of this. Everybody involved in a discussion should get their fair share of time to express their opinions. Don’t interrupt anyone when he or she is telling some anecdote or expressing his or her view on what you are discussing to switch the attention back to yourself. Don’t take over their story about fishing before it’s completed to share your fishing-anecdote. You have to find equilibrium between listening and speaking.
Control Your Instinct to be always Right
You should not argue and control your instinct to be correct about every subject. A lot of times a conversation is not really a debate. You should be able to keep the discussion in a pleasant and friendly manner. There is no one keeping score on who wins or who loses a conversation. Instead, just loosen up and facilitate to keep the conversation going in a friendly manner.
Don’t be Boring
Don’t brag on about your new bike for 15 minutes unmindful to your surroundings. Always be ready to drop a topic when you begin to turn off people. Or when everybody is getting fed up and the matter is starting to annoy them.
Another way to have something exciting to say is just to lead an exciting life and to concentrate on the optimistic stuff. Don’t start to complain about your spouse or your job. Others don’t want to listen to that. Instead, speak about your last trip vacation, some amusing story that happened when you were there, your plans for next holidays or something hilarious or thrilling.
One other way is to be actually paying attention.
Dale Carnegie once said:
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one.”
A common knowledge about many things or at least open to discussing them, instead of trying to guide the discussion back to your preferred subject, is a good quality.
You should be open to all kinds of topic. Don’t cling to one topic. It will make the exchange feel more comfortable and open. You will give the impression that you are a person who can discuss many things without any difficulty. As you’ve most likely experienced with others; this quality is something you welcome in a discussion and makes you realize that you can bond with that person easily.
Not Responding Properly
You should open up and say what you truly believe, share how you feel. If somebody shares an incident, open up too and talk about one of your experiences too. Don’t just stand there staring and looking uninterested. Respond with short sentences. When somebody invests in a conversation, they would like you to invest too.
You cannot constantly wait for the other person to make the initial move. When required, be the first person to open up and move the discussion forward. One way is to replace some questions with statements. It would make you less flaccid.
Not Making an Effort to Contribute
Sometimes you may think that you don’t have anything to add to a conversation. But make an effort in any case. Listen carefully and be genuinely interested in what the other person is saying. Ask constructive questions. Make appropriate statements.
Be aware of your surroundings. Increase your observational skills to select fascinating things in your surroundings to discuss. Increase your own knowledge bank by growing your perspective. Daily read the papers and search the net for trending topics.
But don’t complicate it. Take one step at a time. If you try to do it all at once, it will be confusing and overwhelming for you. Just choose the two or three most significant things that you think requires improving. Consciously improve them by practicing every day for 2-3 weeks. Observe the difference and keep at it. Soon you will make it into a habit and you don’t have to try too hard. It would pop up instinctively when you are in a conversation.
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