Earlier, we posted an article on How to Feign a Conversation at times when the person you're talking to is boring enough to make you want to quickly, but politely, leave. Here we want to give tips on what to do to hold your own in a conversation. You want to make sure the person you're talking to isn't feigning interest with you. Here are some great tips to holding a great conversation.
This might be a no brainer, but if you want to have a conversation with someone, make sure they know it by your body language. Stand straight, keep good eye contact, and nod along to imply you are following the conversation. If appropriate, smile. Projecting enthusiasm toward a conversation will excite and rouse the other people involved.
LISTEN THEN ASK
Before asking too many questions and sounding uninformed, let the other person make their point before responding. Listen attentively and note in your head any question that might come up. Wait until the other person either allows a moment of silence or when you feel they have stated their point and are only continuing to elaborate.
INQUIRE RATHER THAN DECLARE
Admit it, you like to hear yourself talk just as much as anyone else. Unfortunately, in a good conversation, you should ask questions to allow the other person to talk rather than yourself.Keep your opinions short and allow the other person to voice theirs. A good conversation should see both sides expressing opinions but wait until the other party asks you before speaking up.
REPEAT BEFORE CONTINUING
Communication can be misheard or misunderstood. Paraphrasing and repeating the key elements of a the person's story or opinion helps them know you understood what they meant. If you don't, they can then rephrase what they said to better help you. This shows respect and lets the other person know you're interested and want to understand them.
You don't need to tell someone their wrong when it comes to their point of view or opinion. Rather, it's better to find common ground to relate on before offering your judgment and analysis of the subject at hand. Avoid telling someone they're wrong or that you're right. Most conversations never need to become heated enough to elicit an argument. If someone's opinions are truly distasteful, be a better man and walk away rather then potentially embarrassing yourself or the people around you.
LET SILENCE SPEAK
A great segue to new subjects is a moment of silence. This allows both you and the others engaged a moment to reflect on what has just been discussed to either spark new questions or to generate a new topic. It's difficult to converse and think of new questions to ask at the same time. It can come off as rude if you lose part of your attention to brainstorming new ideas. A moment of silence lets your brain process what has been discussed to trigger new ideas. Don't let a small, quiet moment ruin a great conversation.
TAILOR THE CONVERSATION
Especially in groups of people, it is good practice to discuss only topics everyone can be involved in. It's a lot of fun to express annoyances about your boss to a fellow co-worker but if three of the people in the conversation don't work with you, they could care less. Reminiscing with an old friend from the city you grew up in feels great for you and the old friend. Everyone else will have no idea the people and places you're talking about. Always look around you to understand what everyone will be interested in and converse accordingly.
Especially at business functions or outside parties where mingling will be a must, come prepared with a few topics you know can spark a conversation. Current topics include news stories, movies and television, sports, and developments in science. Understand your crowd. If you're headed to an art gallery for a specific artist, do your research, find a few interesting highlights to talk about, find a few questions you'd love to have answered. You don't have to be a genius on any subject, that is the point of conversation, find something that interests you and intend to investigate.
Following these tips you can have a great conversation with almost anyone. Keep these in mind next time you head out and find yourself having well-rounded conversations.