Engaging in conversation, especially when you have to start it, can be nerve-wracking. If you want to start talking to people around you or make some new friends, then you need to work on your conversational skills. Good thing you are reading this article. Here, we have highlighted and discussed vital tips that will help you better your conversation prowess.
Keep reading to find out more.
Become an Active Listener
Do you know that listening is different from hearing? Hearing is an inborn skill, but listening is one we consciously acquire over time. When you listen to someone speak, you hear what they say, you digest the information and try to understand before giving corresponding feedback.
So yes, if you want to engage in conversations more, you have to start practicing the skill of being an active listener consciously. Give full attention to the person talking.
Active listening is not just waiting for the other person to stop talking so we can immediately respond; it is more of being engaged with what they are saying, showing interest, clarifying, and asking questions.
This goes a long way to show that you genuinely care about what they are saying and about them.
Engage with Questions
If you find it hard to make small talk, have you tried the simple method of asking questions? It is no hidden truth that people love to talk about themselves as well as the things that interest them.
So, if you ever find yourself at a loss for what to say, ask questions, especially about conversation topics that you think or know would be of interest.
Whether it is someone sitting next to on an airplane or a stranger at the grocery store, you can always start a conversation by asking open-ended questions. For instance, for the airplane scenario, you could ask, have you tried this airline before? What did you think of it?
You’d be surprised at how the talk would flow from there. Social anxiety might be preventing the person you’re conversing with from becoming engaged. But if you start the conversation with non-personal open-ended questions, you’d eliminate that feeling of trying to force a conversation.
This method can make, even a stranger, feel that you know them, and you listen. If you are engaged, your fellow conversationalist will reciprocate, and you’d have excellent communication.
Have you ever been in a conversation where the other person mumbled or trailed off while speaking? This can be a major turnoff.
And the truth is this can only happen if you’re distracted or you’re overly worried about how other people would perceive you. Well, you’d have to come out of that shell. You can only form a connection with people when you show your true self rather than trying to conform to what you “think” their expectations are.
When you bring up a conversation topic, be confident in the fact that what you have to say is important and worthwhile. This would cause many people to be engaged in your line of conversation.
One of the reasons why so many fail at public speaking is because they lack vital confidence in what they’re saying. Try confidence and see how it boosts your conversations!
Gadgets, especially your phone, could be the main reason why you’ve been finding it hard to engage others in a conversation. And it’s so sad that in this social media age, so many of us are guilty of this.
Even when others engage us in conversation, we prefer to scroll through social media pages while we talk. And why we might want to justify this by saying we are multi-tasking; it just doesn’t work that way. There’s no way the person you’re conversing with won’t notice your unfocused attention. Being distracted by your phone could seriously harm your relationship.
Earlier on, when we talked about listening, you might have decided that one of the critical differences between hearing and listening is understanding. You want to understand what people say to you before replying, and you also want to make them feel that you heard and understood them.
One of the best ways to do this is reflective listening. This involves saying back what they said to you in a paraphrase. Though this might sound repetitive, it’s a superb mental trick that will help you have more engaging conversations.
Even more impressive, this will also prevent any form of miscommunication between you and the other person.
Stop Focusing on Yourself Alone
Sometimes we become so focused on ourselves, our problems, and all that is currently going on in our lives, that we completely forget to let go of all this stress while engaging with others. When you’re talking with others, you have to let go of these distractions, so the person feels important and worth your attention.
The importance of paying attention to body language cannot be over-emphasized. So many researches have been conducted which shows that a vast majority, as much as 90%, of our communication is non-verbal. Your body language is as important as your verbal communication, sometimes even more so.
If you’re mindful of body language, you can quickly tell when someone is interested or uninterested in what you have to say. Having your body facing the other person will help. Direct eye contact is also great.
If you’ve been following, we’ve discussed eight different tips that will help boost your conversation skills, and help you start up talk with people quickly. However, don’t get discouraged if you still find it hard to start up conversations with people.
These things take patience and consistency, as long as you keep applying these tips to your daily lives, you’d soon become a conversation pro.
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