For many of us, talking to other people can feel a lot more daunting than it has to be. Often victims of our own thoughts and minds, we can become easily distracted or carried away in conversation. If you feel like you are prone to this error when talking to people, we recommend that you consider the following tips. They might just help you to start holding more exciting and engaging conversations.
So, if your challenge stems from being able to converse with comfort, here are some tips to maximize your experience.
Don’t deny small talk
Let’s face it, most of us hate small talk. We see it as a pain in the neck, and simply a waste of valuable time, words and oxygen. However, small talk is not just there to fill the air with room: it’s there to ensure you can progress to something deeper.
Use that small talk to move into a more serious topic. Trying to just crowbar a topic of importance into conversation without build-up feels uncomfortable.
Start with something sincere
One of the best ways to start a conversation and to make both people feel comfortable is to start with a compliment. Simply be nice to the person: tell them they look good, that they done a great job, or whatever comes to mind. Starting off with a nice positive piece of feedback is a good way to ensure the conversation, whichever way it goes, has a harmonious and friendly tone to it straight from the off.
Ask open-ended question
A fine way to ruin a conversation is to ask too many closed questions. Basically, any questions which require a yes/no answer could be seen as closed. Instead of asking a colleague ‘did you go golfing this weekend?’, rephrase it to something like ‘how was your golfing experience this weekend?’
A simple change in the syntax makes the person feel far more comfortable. Instead of feeling like you’ve asked a blunt question, they are invited to share and open up.
Know your limits
Sometimes, a conversation will have an obvious limitation to it. For example, did someone you are speaking to just split up with a partner? Or lose a job/miss out on an opportunity? Then know your limits. Know when you can ask some questions and when you might be prying to the point where you will upset or annoy them.
Not every conversation has to be stretched to its limit; remember that, and you’ll be far more comfortable in conversation.
Don’t always take command
Lastly, the secret to a good conversationalist is that they let the other person do much of the talking. By asking those open-ended questions, they become much more likely to feel like they can open up. Don’t feel like you need to be having a line or two each; if they have something that they wish to tell you, then let them talk away: it’s better to let them talk than have a competition to see who can talk fastest!