Society is run by social interaction, but do you often find yourself not knowing what to say on a daily basis? Do you ever think, “man, I wish there was some way I could learn to talk better and be a chit-chattery master.”
Well, you’ve come to the right guide. We are going to teach you how to have a good conversation. Just like an athlete, you must strengthen your conversation muscles consistently, practice every day, and come up with strategies to improve your skills.
Beginning a conversation and then carrying it to a level of meaningful discussion can be a daunting task. Trust me, we’ve all been there at some point. But a willingness to learn and improve your conversation skills is essential. After all, an expert in the art of verbal communication is what society and employers are beginning to put more emphasis on, so it’s important that you’re able to impress everyone with just your words alone.
In fact, a 2016 LinkedIn survey of 291 hiring managers in the U.S. revealed that 59% of them believe “soft skills” (communication, listening, empathy, and, you know, what makes us human) are difficult to find. It is becoming more apparent in an era where technology is replacing human jobs, that social skills are learned and mastered. Being able to collaborate with others, communicate clearly, and hold a conversation confidently is significant to your career and life.
From the LinkedIn survey, it shows the top 10 Most Desirable Skills Hiring Managers are looking for:
- Critical Thinking
- Social Skills
- Interpersonal Communication
- Friendly Personality
The above skills highlighted is substantial evidence on how important people skills are. These skills are most sought after because they’re applicable to most job functions, industry, and different levels of seniority.
Ask yourself, do I possess any of the skills above? If you do, that’s great! You’re awesome. If you don’t, that’s fine as well! You’re here to learn, which is something we do every day of our lives. There’s always room for growth, so let’s run down exactly what we’re going to be learning about today.
In the guide, we will cover the following points on how to have a good conversation:
Learn To Initiate A Conversation
- 7 Tactics to feel less anxious
- 7 Easy tips to build confidence
- Having Charisma
Learn To Carry A Conversation
- Create rapport.
- Positive Comments
- Defining Your Voice
- Small Talk
- Listening Skills
- Deep Conversation Questions
Learn To End The Conversation
- How to properly move on from the conversation
- How to properly establish a connection
Problems You Might Encounter
- Low self-confidence
- The awkward silence
Now before we begin, you might be thinking-
What’s the best way to start a conversation? What are conversation questions I can ask?
How do I become more likable? Why do I have a hard time knowing what to say?
These are great questions and we’re happy you’re asking. We want to help and give you the tools needed to talk to people confidently and create meaningful relationships. The information in this guide will give you the fundamentals needed to understand the process of a conversation. We will give you actionable tips and specific examples to have a successful conversation. We will also address some challenges you might encounter and how to overcome those challenges.
So we’re all set? Great!
Let’s Get Started!
Learn To Initiate A Conversation
7 Tactics to feel less anxious before you embark on your conversations.
Have direction – Don’t go somewhere directionless. That would be silly! Always make sure to have a road map with a destination in mind. The goal can be, “I want to practice small talk.” or “I want to talk to 3 people.” An intention creates purpose, and purpose creates confidence.
Practice and Prepare – Preparing your questions and answers will help you make a great first impression. You can also improve your speaking skills by talking to yourself in the mirror (don’t worry, it’s not as weird as it sounds). Feeling prepared will also help you become more confident, but preparation does not mean memorization. Over-preparing can backfire and create anxiety about memorizing your prepared questions. Use your preparation as a guide. Approaching the conversation in a relaxed demeanor will help your mind naturally remember relevant topics that you prepared as the conversation evolves.
Bring a friend if you can – Bringing a friend can ease up some anxiety you might have when initiating a conversation. A friend can be a safeguard and cheerleader until you’re confident enough to take on conversations with other participants and strangers alike.
Breath – Mark Divine, a U.S. Navy SEAL, and the founder of SEALFIT, says there’s one practice that has helped him rise above others as a method to quickly and reliably help him become centered and focused. Control your breathing by using “box breathing”. Here’s how you do it:
- Expel all the air from your chest, and keep your lungs empty for four long counts. You can trace your finger on a surface in the shape of a square for each count, hence the term “box breathing”
- Inhale through your nose for four long counts. Make sure your breath does not stop at your chest as you inhale and instead reaches your belly. Holding a hand over your stomach can facilitate this process.
- Hold the air in your lungs for four long counts. (Divine adds: “When you hold your breath, do not clamp down and create back pressure. Rather, maintain an expansive, open feeling even though you are not inhaling.”)
- Exhale smoothly through your nose for four counts.
- That’s one “rep.” Divine recommends doing the practice for five minutes minimum to experience the benefits.
This is a good exercise to practice in private or with a friend before you enter a social event with the purpose of practicing your new conversational skills.
Here is a picture to help you understand the “Box Breathing” strategy.
Find someone to approach who looks like they might need a friend – We’ve all seen people who look alone, shy or nervous. Sometimes you can just tell. Say Hi, Hey, Hello, how are you? Shake a hand, be friendly, and make eye contact. You can also use this to relate to each other. If you notice you’re both nervous, speak up so no one feels alone. “I’m nervous too!” “These events can be so awkward sometimes!”
Remember to initiate conversations differently – Talking to someone at a bar will be more relaxed versus someone at a professional event, where you will likely be more formal. Some social events are easier and less intimidating than others. And that varies from person to person.
Go where you feel comfortable having conversations. Go where you thrive Finding a location, event, or meeting where you feel comfortable talking to people can be key to socializing more comfortably and having great conversations. Don’t drain yourself of energy by forcing yourself to go places you hate.
You can also ask yourself where do you thrive the most. Figure out when and where you’re most comfortable when talking to people. The simple things like knowing where you like to spend most of your time is important in finding someone relatable to speak with that you’re comfortable communicating with. You can even think about where have you had good conversations with people and Which situations have brought out the best in you.
Here is a list of potential places:
Bars, gyms, family parties, walking meetings, one on one meetings, coffee shops, office meetings, video chats, cocktail parties, meetup groups, networking events, music festivals, comic book events, sporting events, backyard parties, bookstores, small gatherings, comedy show, cooking class, wine tasting, sporting events, friends house.
Choose 4 places you think you’ll enjoy and 4 places you think would be miserable. Create a list, plan accordingly, and see what happens!
How To Build Confidence: 7 Easy Tips to Build Confidence Fast
Educate yourself – Knowledge creates confidence. Understanding the fundamentals of communication and using them daily will help you to build confidence. Educating yourself by reading this guide will make you more confident because you will now have a process to refer to. Reading books, listening to interviews, watching videos and experiencing different conversations are all a part of educating yourself.
Practice – Educating is a huge part of confidence but practicing what you learned takes you to the next level. Practicing what you learned consistently will help you get in the habit of behaving more confidently. Knowing what to say and making a great impression takes practice. You will increasingly build more confidence with each person you talk to using the skills you have learned.
Get Feedback – Get as much feedback as possible or you’re comfortable with. While you don’t want to completely rely on the opinions of others to boost your confidence, you do need to validate how effective you are and how far you’ve come along. Validation can also be very effective in building confidence when you receive good advice or constructive feedback. We recommend receiving feedback from someone you trust and feel comfortable with at first. Think of 2 people who can give you honest, but constructive feedback.
Practice Positive Self-Talk and Positive Affirmations – It has been proven that positive self-talk can improve your confidence and reduce stress, along with other benefits. Get into the habit of practicing positive declarations. Say positive things about yourself and the situation you’re in that make you feel uncertain.
For example, tell yourself: “I am confident in my abilities.” “Everything will work out.” “I can do this!” “With each conversation I am getting better.” “I will rock this interview!” “Today is going to be a good day”
Be OK with Mistakes – No one likes to “fail”, but failure is an indicator of learning. Sometimes society makes us feel like a mistake is the end of the world sometimes or we should never make a mistake. But, mistakes are human nature and most humans learn best through mistakes. If you are serious about getting confident, then you need to become comfortable with not being perfect. There is no easy way to do this, but according to Peter Guber, you can fail faster. Fix your mistakes as soon as you realize it and learn how to avoid it in the future.
Avoid Negative People – Find a trustworthy partner for this journey and share experiences only with the people you trust and who will encourage you. To distinguish between who you trust, draw a “drains” and “radiators” map. Surrounding yourself with supportive people can change your life.
Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D., is a Professor of Marketing affiliated with the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, writes on Psychology Today, saying-
“It can be excruciatingly difficult to deal with negative people—people who bring your mood down with their pessimism, anxiety, and general sense of distrust. Imagine being constantly discouraged from pursuing your dreams because “very few people make it big.” Or imagine being constantly warned against learning a new skill—like Scuba diving or horseback riding—because “it’s too dangerous.” Likewise, imagine being routinely exposed to negative judgments about other people (e.g., “I can’t believe you told our neighbors that you failed your driving test—now they’ll never respect you!”) Constant exposure to such negativity can make deep inroads into your bank of positivity, leading you to either become negative—diffident, anxious, and distrustful—yourself, or to become indifferent, uncaring, or even mean towards the negative person.”
Explore Counseling – Building confidence to initiate a conversation is not easy but it can be done with motivation. With a lot of things in our life, the journey starts in your mind. But sometimes it’s hard to do it on your own and your insecurities are more complex than you thought. Working on yourself is also about diving deep into your thoughts, history, and insecurities. Discovering how to overcome anything holding you back in life is important and can be life changing. Discover counseling in your area by clicking here.
Charisma is defined as someone who is admired, accepted, and influential on others around them. If you want to be charismatic, you must have the right conversation skills to make people want to talk to you. If you’re a shy person that feels awkward at times or your mind goes blank occasionally, just remember that being likeable is a skill you can improve with effort. You’re normal just like everyone else. All it takes is confidence and experience making conversation.
We can all achieve a level of conversation where we are pleasant to be around and to say some things that are interesting. Charisma is not a skill you have to be born with! It can be a learnable skill by practicing the right behaviors.
“Charisma is simply the result of learned behaviors,” says Olivia Fox Cobane, author of “The Charisma Myth.”
You don’t need to be physically attractive, extroverted, or have a certain type of personality.
Here are some actionable tips to keep in mind you can easily use in your next conversation to become more interesting and likable. Some of what is listed below we also go into detail later in this guide. Or, check out our article here on why everyone is talking about charisma.
Be Sincere – Being genuine goes a long way. It helps the other person feel more comfortable and related to you. Don’t pretend to be interested in someone. That may come back and bite your rear end in the future. Always remember that one of the main goals of a conversation is to find a connection, to be sincerely interested and curious about the other person.
Ask impactful and interesting questions – This is huge! Asking meaningful questions can extend the conversation. We go in-depth about which questions to ask later in the guide. Scroll down!
Keep an open mind – Try to judge people as little as possible. Being open minded makes you approachable and easy to talk to. This also allows you to ask more questions and find a connection with the other person.
Don’t show off – If you try to show off or show how important you are people will be turned off. No one likes a self-absorbed know it all. Be humble. Stand out, don’t stick out.
Have a consistent mood and behavior – Being able to have a consistent mood is very important because people like to know who they’re dealing with. If your mood tends to fluctuate, try to not let it affect people.
Use positive body language – never cross your arms, use consistent eye contact, lean into the person you’re talking to, and use an optimistic tone. Be aware of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice.
Create a strong first impression – Say their name and smile while talking or introducing yourself. Greet with an appropriate hug, a friendly handshake, or a touch on the shoulder.
Be OK with where you’re at – Go easy on yourself. Just because someone else might be “more likable” doesn’t mean you should compare yourself. We are all at different levels at different times. Focus on your journey and continue to improve as much as you can.
Have fun – Don’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy the experience. Try not to worry about making mistakes, most likely no one will notice.
Likable people bring out the best in those around them. They create an atmosphere of happiness and positive vibes. Add these recommendations to your conversations and watch your likeability sky rocket! Tap your charisma potential!
Learn To Carry A Conversation
People decide if they like someone, can trust them, or want a relationship with a person within the first few seconds of meeting.
Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal, publishers of Thin Slices of Expressive Behavior as Predictors of Interpersonal Consequences, conclude that people make quick and accurate judgments in the first few seconds of meeting someone. This is determined without even hearing someone speak. You are in control of influencing those initial impressions with your approach and ongoing rapport building skills.
You might be asking yourself, “If people judge of me in a few seconds, how can I make friends if they don’t even hear me talk?”
Think of it this way; humans use first impressions as a survival mechanism. The fight or flight response kicks in and your body makes the decision for you. This is all based on what is in front of you.
Do you leave, or do you stay? Is this person safe to be with? Are they a friend or someone who can hurt you? Are they a leader or follower?
These are questions your mind and body instinctively ask.
To make a good first impression you must try to create rapport. Gaining the trust of the person you’re talking to. You first do this by being charismatic!
Using simple techniques to show you’re a safe person is important in any environment. Use hand gestures, good posture, positive tone of voice, eye contact, and say their name. Keep your hands visible and never skip a handshake. Be as confident as you can because humans instinctively want to be around looks like a “winner” or someone who is “successful”.
Always find something in common. Humans are attracted to others who have similarities. One way you can do this is by making the other person feel good about themselves using positive comments.
Judith E. Glaser, author, academic, business executive and organizational anthropologist, and Richard D. Glaser, founding member of The CreatingWE Institute writes,
“Positive comments and conversations produce a chemical reaction too. They spur the production of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that elevates our ability to communicate, collaborate and trust others by activating networks in our prefrontal cortex…Behaviors that spark oxytocin, by contrast, raise conversational IQ.”
Using positive and encouraging comments is a very important aspect of any conversation. If you’ve ever been around someone who makes negative comments or complains about almost everything, you know exactly what we’re talking about and have a good understanding of the types of people to avoid. Just think about the person at work who never has anything positive to say. It’s draining, and people usually don’t want to be around that person.
Here are 5 general examples of positive comments that are encouraging and supportive:
“I’m so happy you had a great weekend!”
“Wow! That’s impressive. Tell me more about your job.”
“You’re ready for this interview! You’ll do great.”
“I love the way you told the story about your trip to Italy. I felt like I was there!”
“If you keep practicing as hard as you do, you might go pro!”
These are meant to make the other person feel good, wanting to come back to you for more conversation. Most importantly, make sure you mean what you say. Remember, be sincere.
Practicing a positive attitude and using positive comments during conversations will increase your bond with people. You will be more attractive and more desirable to be around when you’re supportive. Practicing positive thinking and positive conversations will increase your likability!
Defining Your Voice.
“If words disagree with the tone of voice and nonverbal behavior, people tend to believe the tonality and nonverbal behavior.” – Dr. Mehrabian
Remember; how you say your words matter because the tone of your voice is impactful. According to a study done by a psychology professor from UCLA, Dr. Albert Mehrabian, there are three elements that account for how well we receive someone’s message and they impact us differently:
- 7% words
- 38% tone of voice
- 55% body language
The study goes on to say, “Even the slightest negative tone or movement can indicate to parties our support or lack of support for their involvement in a conference process. Nods, smiles, positive ‘Mmmhmms’ and ‘ahhhahhs’, looks of understanding, questioning and empathy all encourage people to participate in communication which builds trust and assists them to have the confidence to discuss sometimes very difficult issues.”
How to use Small Talk to keep a conversation going and make it interesting.
Small talk is important because the simple topics are the ones that Initiate deeper conversations. Carrying conversations in general are very challenging because It’s like dancing- you’re unsure if you should do it because you’re nervous, and your afraid people watching might judge you- but once you get warmed up, you feel confident and can keep going. This is what small talk is. Getting the conversation ready for a deeper and more meaningful discussion. This is an essential part of carrying a conversation.
Small talk builds substance for more authentic conversations and helps create deeper relationships. A lot of people hate small talk because they think it’s superficial. But it simply because they’re not good at it. Small talk takes skill, confidence, and practice.
Imagine trying to skip small talk and going straight for a deep conversation about politics or your family. The conversation would probably end very quickly.
Small talk usually begins with general topics such as the weather, sports, where you’re from, work and school. Those things can tell us a lot about who the other person is. It allows you to evaluate another person and what their story is. It can reveal a lot, such as if they are whiny, sad, or happy, a positive person, judgmental, or a potential friend or client. It’s all information to build the conversation or end it.
Small talk should be a big part of the conversation. Practice this part of the conversation and it will propel your conversation skills to another level.
Here are examples and ideas for small talk:
Make sure you introduce your self first if you don’t know the person. If you think they won’t remember you add a little bit of information like where you first met, or what you do.
“Good morning! I’m Sasha, since I see you every day here at the office I wanted to introduce myself.”
“Hey! What do you think of the weather today? It’s definitely a beach day.”
“What did you think of the NBA finals last night? Great game.”
“Hey Tyler, how are things going over at the customer service department today?”
“Hey! I’m really looking forward to drinks after work today. I hear Sasha will be coming with us too!”
You can small talk about a few universal topics such as the weather, current news, sports and entertainment. These are usually safe small talk topics, but not everyone follows sports, or entertainment news, so you can, try to match people’s interests. Do this by listening from past conversations, especially if you’ve heard them talking about a current event or weekend adventure. Or bring up a topic from a news story or an article you read that day.
A good listener is a good learner. Taking turns and not dominating the conversation is very important. This seems obvious, but it can be hard to put into practice because there are times when you may want to yell out ideas, thoughts, argue, disagree or get excited. Practice allowing the other person to finish their complete thought.
You also must look like your listening by being present. You can do this by following the tips below:
Focus on the person in front of you – Giving someone your undivided attention is a huge compliment.
Use eye contact – but not so much that you look like you’re having a staring contest.
Use body language – Nod your head, smile, point your body in their direction.
Be empathetic – Put yourself in their shoes.
Deep Conversation Questions
When starting a conversation, you should always strive to be unique and interesting. The questions below are great for beginning a conversation and taking it to a deeper level. You don’t want the generic “Where are you from?” type of questions. No, you want to be different, which will help keep the conversation going.
Reminder: Not all of these questions will work in every situation, but they will significantly improve many of your conversations.
What are some personal projects you’re working on?
Working on anything exciting lately outside of work?
What did you like about tonight’s networking event?
What was the highlight of your day today?
What was the highlight of your week?
What was the best part of your weekend?
What are you looking forward to this weekend?
Tell me about your weekend.
Tell me about your family?
What are some things you have going on this weekend?
What kind of work do you do?
What are some things you’re doing at work you like?
These open-ended questions spark longer and deeper discussions and will extend the conversation significantly.
Fun conversation questions can really make things interesting.
Don’t be afraid to try different conversation starters especially if they’re fun! If you’re confident enough to try something new, use some of the fun conversation questions below.
What was the last funny video you watched on YouTube?
What is your favorite Netflix show?
What are some of your future travel plans?
Which countries have you traveled to?
If you’re traveling to a new country, what do you think is the best way to travel?
What are some of your hobbies or things you’re passionate about?
What type of music or songs puts you in a good mood?
What’s the best way to discover music these days?
What do you think phones and computers will be like in 10 years?
What type of sports do you watch?
What’s your opinion on college athletes getting paid?
If you’re feeling adventurous, below are a few funny conversations starters.
I just watched “Goodfellas” this weekend. If you were in witness protection program, where would you go, what would your name be, and why? Also, what did you do to be in witness protective program?
What would your theme song be while walking to work and why?
If you had the ability to be amazing at any job wanted what would it be?
Which celebrity would you have dinner with and why?
If you received $1,000 a day for the rest of your life, what would you do with the extra cash?
Conversation threads. Discover interests and sincerely get to know someone.
Conversation threads are questions followed up by a more in-depth question related to the topic.
Follow up with simple questions with open-ended ones. Ask the question, wait for the person to answer, and then follow up with a more interesting/open ended question.
As we now know open-ended questions can nudge the conversation into deeper, more authentic territory – where introverts tend to thrive. Here are a few more examples:
“Where are you from?” followed by “What is your hometown like? How is it different than here?”
“What do you do?” followed by “What made you enter your profession? What inspires you about that type of work?”
“Have you attended these networking events before?” followed by “What did you think of today’s speaker?”
“Did you have a good Friday night?” followed by “What kind of fun did you get into last night?”
“Did you like the restaurant?” followed by “What do you recommend eating there?”
Learn To End The Conversation
How to properly move on from the conversation.
Decide if you want to continue a conversation or have some type of relationship with this person. You usually sense if there is a connection within the first conversation.
If you want to move on – End the conversation gracefully by being as courteous as possible. Below are some examples on how to end the conversation gracefully.
“It was great meeting you! I’m going to continue to mingle around.”
“It was great meeting you! I’m going to continue to meet people. Here is my card if you ever want to reach out.”
“I’m going to get another drink. I’ll see you around.”
“I’m going to meet my friends, it’s nice meeting you.”
“If you would like to reach out, here is my card.”
“Thanks for sharing your experience, have a great night.”
“My goal is to meet at least one more person. Who would you suggest I talk to next?”
“Excuse me, do you know where the bathroom is?”
“Hi, this is ____,” (Introduce someone else into the conversation)
“Excuse me, I have to make a phone call.”
“It was great catching up with you. We’ll talk soon, I’m sure”
“I don’t want to monopolize all your time. I’m going to go mingle a little more. Here is my card, feel free to reach out anytime.”
These “exit” lines are all adaptable and can be used in almost any situation. Change them up according to the situation you are in. Have a few in mind, especially if you think you might come across a boring conversation. Keep in mind that the goal is to connect, meet people, and having meaningful conversations. Don’t let anyone take up all your time. Most importantly, don’t feel bad or guilty about exiting a conversation that might not go anywhere.
How to properly establish a connection.
If you want to establish a deeper meaningful relationship with someone – Simply ask the person if they want to continue the conversation elsewhere. Save this for people who you feel a real connection with.
A great tip from Vanessa Van Edwards, Founder of Science of People, says, “Every time you offer help, support, and advice, you create a deeper bond with someone, and a permanent similarity.”
Ending a conversation by asking, “What can I help you with?” will make a larger impact on the other person leading to a more meaningful relationship.
Here are some things to say:
“Because you’re visiting for the first time, here is a list of great places to visit in town.”
“Since I’m familiar with people in that industry, I can introduce you to a couple people on LinkedIn.”
“Losing weight is hard, I know a great book I can recommend.”
“Since you’re going to NYC for vacation, I can send you a list of my favorite local restaurants.”
This part of the conversation is where you decide if you want to go further with the conversation. Do you want to turn it into a more meaningful relationship or not? Remember, don’t offer help if you can’t. Create deeper relationships with people who you sincerely want to connect with after a conversation.
Lastly, Vanessa Van Edwards, author of the book Captivate and Lewis Howes, author and entrepreneur, use the “Teach Me!” strategy to deepen conversations. If the person you’re talking to mentions something you don’t know about or have little knowledge of, ask for more information on the idea or topic. This is a moment in the conversation you can figuratively say, “Teach Me!”
Here are some examples:
“I’ve never been to that part of Europe, tell me more about it.”
“I’ve never met anyone who has worked in that industry. Tell me more about it.”
“I’ve never heard of that documentary before. What is it about?”
“You have so much experience traveling. Where do you recommend going for my next trip?”
“I haven’t seen much of New York City besides Times Square. Since you lived there, what are some cool places only the locals know about?”
Problems You Might Encounter
Your thoughts can go a long way when you’re trying to get to another place in life. Positive thinking can help you develop confidence and success in creating better communication skills or anything in life.
Research reveals that positive thinking is much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Barbra Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, says,
“Negative thinking and negative emotions can produce problems such as anxiety disorders, aggression, depression, low self-confidence and many other stress-related physical disorders.”
It’s so easy to get caught up in negative thinking; this can derail your attempt of being a good communicator before you even talk to anyone! The first step to avoid this is to stop seeking approval or validation and comparing yourself to others. There will be times in life when you’ll feel angry and jealous of someone else and begin comparing yourself to make accurate evaluations. This type of mentality will not help you to attain your goals. Thinking or obsessing about how someone else is ‘better than you’ will zap your motivation, reduce your chances of completing your goal, and kill your positivity.
The important thing to keep in mind is that we’re all on different levels of learning and it’s so easy to see someone else’s final product. The most attractive skill you can develop is self-confidence.
Avoid the awkward silence.
It’s all about how you react to the silence. Stay confident, take a deep breath, and remain positive. you’ll send the message to yourself and to everyone else that what’s happening is normal and not awkward at all.
Lookout for any physical similarities or objects you can talk about. For example, if you notice the person you’re talking to is wearing a New York University hat, you can say, “Did you go to NYU?”, “What was it like living in the city for school?” Or, if you walk into someone’s office and notice baseball memorabilia, you can mention, “Are you a baseball fan?” “Who’s your favorite team?”
Asking, “are you a baseball fan?”, can lead in to a “me too” conversation where you discover similarities. “You’re a Mets fan too?!”, “I was at the game last weekend!” “Me too!” You’re pointing out similarities, but make sure to dive into the similarity and explore it.
Just because there’s silence doesn’t mean you did something wrong.
The conversation may have come to an end or a few seconds is needed to figure out what to say next.
Maybe you need time to reflect because someone said something thought provoking. Or it’s the simple fact that people just don’t want to talk in that moment. And guess what? That’s OK! Silence is acceptable. Try to manage any anxiety that comes up.
Remember not to panic. Breathe! A few seconds of silence isn’t that big of a deal if you don’t make it one. End the conversation or move on to your next question or thought.
You should always reflect on your conversation as well. After you have ended your discussion or have come home from an event, reflect on your interactions with people. You can do this by talking to your spouse, friend, writing in a journal, or thinking about it on your way home.
What did I learn?
What did I do well?
What can I improve on?
Did I have fun?
Who should I follow up with?
Reflection is a powerful mechanism behind learning. American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey: “We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.”
Take 5+ minutes to reflect after your conversations. This will help improve your skills and identify behaviors that are going great for you and what needs more training. This will help you learn and increase your conversational IQ.
Summary/Review of How to have a good conversation
Can you be likeable? Of course, you can! You can learn how to be charismatic and use it in everyday conversations.
Go where you feel comfortable and thrive. This will help stimulate conversations and have a higher chance of finding similarities with people.
To make good first impressions, you must create rapport. Gain their trust. You do this in a few different ways. Hands, posture, eye contact, and tone of voice.
Entering a conversation is making small talk. Or, in other words, getting the conversation warmed up for a deeper and more meaningful conversation. This is a must in learning how to carry a conversation.
Be different, be novel, be interesting. Deep conversation questions help carry the conversation and relationship. Open-ended questions spark longer and deeper discussions. Start with simple questions or the ones above.
Conversation threads are follow up questions by a more in-depth question related to the topic. Ask the question, wait for the person to answer, and then follow up with a more interesting/open ended question.
Open-ended questions can nudge the conversation into deeper, more authentic territory – where introverts tend to thrive. Here are a few more examples:
“Where are you from?” followed by “What is your hometown like? How is it different than here?”
Decide to end a conversation gracefully or create a more meaningful relationship.
Asking someone if they want to continue the conversation elsewhere. Save this for people who you feel a real connection with and want to take to the next level.
Reflect. After you have ended your conversations or have come home from an event, reflect on your interactions with people.
What To Do Next?
You have completed the guide!
After completing this guide, you now possess the raw fundamentals of how to have a good conversation with someone. We now expect you to use the guide, apply it daily, practice, and use all the tools at your disposal. Initiating conversation and creating relationships is hard, especially if you’re new at it. Many try and many fail, but you should never give up on becoming a better communicator. This guide is a roadmap toward your success, and will give you a head start over many people who don’t try.
Practice these ideas every day and experience as many conversations as possible. Step as far as you possibly can outside your comfort zone. Most importantly, have fun!
Take this as a challenge and an opportunity. Show us that you can make it happen. We believe in you.