What are healthy conversation skills?
Well, it means there are two types of conversations: positive and toxic conversations.
If you’re not skilled in understanding how to express your opinion confidently while using empathy then a conversation can turn into a tornado of emotions and conflict.
You don’t want that!
You don’t want toxic conversations. You need to learn healthy conversation skills or at least learn how to manage them better.
To go beyond the basic understanding of conversations and to become a great conversationalist there are 4 things you need to learn:
- Understand and build rapport
- Use positive comments
- Define your voice
Let’s go further into learning health conversation skills:
1. Create and build rapport.
People decide if they like someone, can trust them, or want a relationship with a person within the first few seconds of meeting.
Experts conclude that people make quick and accurate judgments in the first few seconds of meeting someone without even hearing someone speak.
You are in control of influencing those initial impressions with your approach and ongoing rapport.
You might be asking yourself, “If people judge of me in a few seconds, how can I make friends or meet anyone 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 a 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.
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 someone who looks like a “winner” or someone who is “successful”.
Protip: Always find something in common because 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.
2. Positive Comments will level up your conversation skills.
Judith E. Glaser, author, business executive, and organizational anthropologist 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. These are 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. It’s not healthy!
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 healthy conversation skills 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 healthy conversation skills will increase your likability!
3. 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 more than the words themselves. The tone of your voice is much more impactful. According to a study done by a psychology professor from UCLA, Dr. Albert Mehrabian, says there are three elements that account for how well we receive someone’s message and how they impact us differently:
- 7% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in the words that are spoken.
- 38% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is the way the words are said.
- 55% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in facial expression.
The non-verbal elements are very important for communicating feelings and attitude when communicating with people.
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.”
4. Listening Skills. Healthy conversation skills derive from being a good listener.
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 4 tips below:
- Focus on the person in front of you – 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.
Now you have a strategy to participate in healthy conversations. Below is a quick recap:
- Create rapport, use positive comments, define your voice and listen.
- Remember the elements of personal communication – 7% spoken words, 38% voice and tone, 55% is body language. Most of the time our body language and tone are truer than our words.
- Practice listening skills. Focus on the person in front of you, be present, and use body language to show you’re interested.