Talking is something that takes up quite a large part of our waking lives. It is the most common way people have been communicating for centuries, and most people would be lost without it.
Talking is something that comes very naturally to most, but being a good conversationalist is something entirely different. Lots of people struggle with initiating and holding good conversations. But don’t worry! Here are a few ways in which you can improve your conversation skills.
It might sound weird, but the most important thing to hold a good conversation is not to talk, but rather to listen. A conversation is a give-and-take, so don’t make it all about yourself. If you’re talking so much that the other person is barely able to get a word in, chances are they’ll get bored/frustrated and the conversation is going to end one way or the other.
Even though you’re physically there, if your mind is elsewhere, then the conversation isn’t going to go anywhere. Be genuinely interested and don’t multitask while talking to someone, it might come off as rude or insincere.
If you’re having trouble starting up a conversation or keeping it going, the best way to do that is by asking questions. When you ask a question, the other person is inclined to give you an answer, and the conversation might branch off from then on. And make your questions meaningful to elicit meaningful conversations. Ask questions that start with “what, where, who, when, and why”. So, instead of asking “How did the event yesterday go?”, you should ask “What did you do at the event yesterday?”
Embrace and Respect Your Differences
Every person is different; it’s important that you fully understand and accept this. Each and every one of us has different opinions and experiences based on a variety of factors, so don’t always expect everyone to accept your point of view. You might not agree with what the other person is saying, but accept that that’s how they feel. And who knows, they might end up being right too, so don’t let your ego get in the way of changing your own mind.
Leading off the previous point, a good tip for being a good conversationalist is to not argue. Even if you think the other person is wrong, don’t be too aggressive. Make the conversation light and “fun” so that the other person doesn’t feel like running away from you. Get your point across in the most polite way, and don’t expect them to agree with you right away.
Focus on the Positive
No one likes a negative Nelly! One of the best ways to have a constructive conversation is to talk about positive topics. Focus on the good things, like what’s ahead, instead of focusing on the negatives of the past. And always try and shine a positive light on the other person. This way, the person leaves with a happy attitude about the conversation and about you.