Top 10 tips on how to hold a good conversation with anyone
Some people are naturals, when it comes to the art of a conversation, but for many, holding a casual conversion is something that they struggle with. Sometimes this difficulty can be caused by shyness and sometimes by the fear of saying something foolish, but the art of casual conversation is something that can be learned. If you struggle with making small talk, then read tense ten effective tips on how to hold an effortless conversation with anyone.
1. Don’t overthink the conversation
For most people, they can talk perfectly and freely with close friends or family members; it is when they are in unfamiliar surroundings that they clam up. This can be because, quite simply, they are trying too hard and thinking too much about what they are going to say. Try to relax more, follow the flow of the conversation and stop trying analysing what is being said.
2. Learn the difference between talking at a person and talking with them
A good conversation is a flowing, two way affair. So our next tip on how to hold a good conversation is simple: try not to fire off long series of flat statements or questions. Instead, look more to respond to the last comment made by the person you are talking to.
3. Never interrupt
Another tip on how to hold a good conversation is never to interrupt anyone mid-sentence. Not only is interrupting rude, but it also breaks the continuity of the conversation. Even if you have something really important to say, bite your tongue and wait for your opportunity after the other person has finished speaking.
4. Use a person’s answer as a reason to ask more questions
You can nearly always find another question to ask, from the answer to a previous question in a conversation. For example, if a person said that they went to the movies last night, then you have a whole series of follow on questions like: ‘Do you go to the movies often? Which movie theatre did you go to? Did you have dinner after?’ And so on.
5. Don’t treat a conversation like a competition
Don’t try and outdo the other person by trying to come up with a funnier story than their last one, or trying to prove that you have more things to say or have been to better places than they have. There is no competition in a conversation; it should just be for fun!
6. Throw in a few compliments
Another tip on how to hold a good conversation is to throw in a few compliments. If you are finding it hard to break the ice, then nothing beats a compliment as an opener in a conversation. Follow up a compliment with a question and you’ve got the beginnings of a conversation. How could anyone not respond to: ‘I love that dress, where did you get it from?’
7. Don’t crowd a person
Our next tip on how to hold a good conversation is to give people enough space for them to feel comfortable. If you invade their personal space by standing too close, they are going to feel like cutting the conversation short, so they can get away and get some air!
8. Build some empathy
Another good way to keep a conversation going is to let the person know that you understand how they feel and that you can relate to what they are saying. An agreement with a statement, followed by a question, will also prompt further discussion. For example: ‘That must have been awful, what did you do next?’
9. Pay close attention to what is being said
There is nothing more annoying than being in a one-sided conversation, where the other person is obviously not even listening to you, so always pay attention to the conservation. Don’t let your mind wander, nor start playing with your phone, otherwise the other person will think you are bored, rude or even both.
10. Try not to repeat yourself
Our final tip on how to hold a good conversation is to avoid repeating yourself. Most of us have stock phrases in our vocabulary that we overuse, such as ‘awesome’, ‘yeah’, ‘sort of’ or ‘I know’. Try and avoid repeating the same phrase over and over again, because that can be really irritating and any phrase that is continually repeated soon loses its impact. After all, not everything can really be ‘awesome’, can it?
What are your tips on how to hold a good conversation?