If you want to improve your conversation skills use conversational threads and learn how to talk about your experiences.
It’s simple. I’m sure you thread your conversations more than you think.
Conversation threads = Asking a question, wait for the person to answer, and then follow up with a more interesting/open-ended question.
Here are some examples of conversations threads to improve your conversation skills:
- “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 weekend?” followed by “What kind of fun did you get into?”
- “Did you like the restaurant?” followed by “What do you recommend eating there?”
These types of threads can nudge the conversation into deeper, more authentic territory – where introverts tend to thrive.
Use conversational threads as follow-ups to details mentioned in a conversation.
Here are examples.
You ask – “What are your plans this weekend?” and they say, “I’m meeting up with friends to get drinks. Keeping it simple.”
Follow up with: “That sounds great. There are good bar options around here I’ve noticed. Do you have a favorite?” Or, “Great. It’s always good to keep things simple. What are some other weekend activities you enjoy?
You can continue threading the conversation …
“You mentioned your friends. What are your friends like? How long have you known your friends for?”
Or, stop threading and create another topic. You can either share your experiences or continue asking questions and thread the conversation together.
The person you’re talking to will most likely ask you the same question or something similar. When they do, elaborate, and don’t be afraid to add details, or share your experiences.
Learn to share your experiences to improve your conversation skills.
“Tell me about your day?” Short response: “It was good. Just got out of work.”
A better response: “My day was good. I enjoyed my time at work, and finally finished a huge research project for my boss. So glad to be getting a drink soon. You should come.”
This comment gives detail but leaving enough curiosity for the listener to ask questions. It helps the other person bounce back a comment or question. Keep the momentum going by having the conversation go back and forth. This is how you can take control of a conversation.
Protip: Find common ground and shared experiences to build on.
When you discover commonalities, you’ll build trust and become likable faster. You accomplish this by sharing similar experiences and achieving compatibility.
After establishing trust and compatibility, discussions over shared experiences give the other person a sense of freedom that allows them (and you) to be open and honest. This is known as “bonding”, allowing you to have deeper conversations and discover more about the person you’re talking to.
Keep in mind this might take a few different conversations to reach this level of connection. Some people open up sooner (or later) than others.
Ask more open-ended questions or deep questions.
To continue bonding with someone or to keep the momentum of the conversation going ask more open-ended questions or deep questions.
Examples of deep questions:
“Can you tell me more about your family?”
“Does the work you’re doing now make you happy?”
“Can you tell me about your last relationship?”
“Where did you grow up, and what was your family like?”
At some moment of the conversation make them the focal point of the conversation.
Make the other person at some moment of the conversation the focal point by being curious and exploring with genuine interest.
When you lead with curiosity and ask thoughtful questions that allow someone to share or “have the floor”, you build a connection (that leads to trust).
As you ask questions, you’ll likely find places where you have commonalities and “shared narratives”, which are quick ways to building momentum and building a bond with the other person.
You got this! Learn and practice these strategies to improve your conversation skills and you’ll see an instant improvement.