Today communication is an essential thing in our life. The ability to take part in a conversation is very important. So, if you feel you aren`t a good conversationalist, you can improve your skills to be more successful. To start with, find out what the biggest mistakes people make in a conversation.
№1 Not listening
Most people actually don`t listen to their interlocutor. They just wait eagerly for their turn to talk.
So, don`t be like most people, put your own ego on hold. If you listen more carefully, you`ll see lots of potential paths in the conversation.
For example, someone mentions he went camping last summer. Here you may ask such questions:
Where did you go camping?
What was the weather like?
What food did you take with you?
What do you like most about camping?
The person will delve deeper into the subject giving you more information to work with and more paths for you choose from. Try to avoid Yes/No questions because they don`t contribute to developing the conversation.
If your interlocutor says something like: “Oh, I don’t know”, don’t give up. Ask again. He just doesn`t know, let him think about a bit more. As he starts to open up the conversation becomes more interesting because it’s not on auto-pilot anymore.
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”
№2 Asking too many questions
To continue the previous point, it`s worth admitting that asking too many questions can turn the conversation into a bit of an interrogation or may seem like you have nothing to contribute.
№3 Talking about something weird or negative
When you are at a party or in a new company, when you are just getting to know some people, try to avoid such topics as religion, politics, serial killers or sex issues. Such things suck positive energy out of the conversation. Talking about your bad health or relationships, your crappy job or boss will hardly contribute to a productive conversation.
№4 Hogging the spot-light
Everyone who takes part in a conversation should get their time in the spotlight. Don’t draw the attention to yourself by interrupting someone when they are telling a story or expressing their opinion.
For example somebody is telling a story about fishing. Don`t interrupt him to share your best fishing-anecdote. Wait until he finishes.
№5 Having to be right
Very often people discuss some controversial topics. In this case interlocutors want to persuade each other that their opinion is right.
Remember that not every conversation is a discussion. It may be a more of a way to keep a good mood going. Avoid arguing, you won`t impress anybody if you “win” .
№6 Tightening up
Sometimes talking to a person you`ve just met you may suddenly feel a bit nervous and it affects the general mood of the conversation or the usual few topics are exhausted and an awkward silence might appear.
But you shouldn’t think there is nothing to talk about. Try to discuss current news. It’s also good to stay updated on current water cooler-topics. Like what happened on the latest episode of “Game of Thrones”. Or you can comment for example the aquarium or a painting on the wall. Find topics for a conversation in your surroundings.
To feel more confident in a new company you can assume rapport – pretend that this new acquaintance is one of your best friends. Don’t overdo it though, you might not want to hug and kiss right away. But if you imagine this you’ll go into a positive emotional state.
№7 Poor delivery
The secret of a conversation is not WHAT you say but HOW you say. It means that your body language and the tone of your voice matter a lot. Here are the most important recommendations:
Don`t mumble, speak clearly
When you get excited about something it’s easy to start talking faster. Try to slow down and add a small pause between thoughts or sentences. People will start to listen more attentively to what you’re saying.
Add emotions. Nobody will be interested if you speak in a monotone voice.
Work on your body language as it can make your delivery a lot more effective.
№8 Being boring
Listening about your awesome pup or your new car for half an hour can annoy your interlocutor, so be ready to to drop a subject when you see that people are getting bored.
One good way to have something interesting to say is simply to lead an interesting life. It`s very handy to know a little about many different things or at least being open to talk about them instead of trying to steer the conversation back to your favourite subject.
№9 Not contributing much
Even if you don`t know much about the subject of conversation don`t just stand there abstracting. Listen attentively, ask questions and make relating statements because if someone contributes in the conversation he expects you contributing too.