The one constant that keeps the world going on a daily basis is conversation. It is how businesses are conducted, how relationships are formed. It can also be a testy water to navigate; people don’t like your opinions or get offended by what we say.
With the advent of social media, every conversation has the potential to devolve into an argument, and even the most trivial of issues has somebody fighting passionately for or against it. It makes for a hectic and quite frankly unhealthy way of living.
This post is here to highlight ways that you can hold a better conversation.
A conversation requires a balance between talking and listening and somewhere along the line we have lost that balance.
Part of this is due to technology, smartphones have cultivated the culture of texting while killing the ability to hold interpersonal conversational skills.
The ability to hold a conversation is one that is vital in all works of life, in our job life and in your personal life. One of the misconception people have is that you can only have great conversation with people you like. Not true, you can disagree deeply with people and even not like them and still hold great conversations with them
Some of us have heard various tips concerning conversation such as look the person in the eye, think of interesting topics to discuss in advance, nod and smile to show that you’re paying attention, repeat back what you just heard or summarize it.
Forget all of that, they don’t work. Why? Because there is no reason to learn to show you’re paying attention if you are in fact paying attention.
How To Hold Better Conversation
Below are listed 10 ways to help become a better conversationalist but mastering even 1 will help go a long way in having better conversations:
1. Don’t Multitask
Focus on the conversation, be present in the moment. Don’t be thinking about the argument you had with your wife or your girlfriend, don’t be distracted by what you’ll have for dinner. If you want to leave the conversation then by all means eave, but don’t be half in and half out of it.
2. Don’t Pontificate
If you’re going to express your opinions, don’t state your opinion in a pompous manner, be open to the opinion of others.
And if you’re not, start a blog where you can pass your opinions as facts if that’s your thing. Always enter a conversation assuming you have something to learn.
3. Use open ended Questions
Take a page from journalists, start your questions with who, what, when, where, why and how.
4. Go with the Flow
Sometimes our thoughts may wander, the best thing to do is let them. Stories and Ideas are going to come to you, you need to let them come and let them go.
5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know
Always err on the side of caution, don’t claim to be an expert in a topic that you’re not. Talk should not be cheap.
6. Don’t equate your Experiences with Theirs
If the other party is talking about how they lost a family member, don’t start talking about the time you lost a family member. It is never the same. All experiences are individual, and more importantly it is not about you.
7. Try not to repeat yourself
Not only is this boring, it is also condescending and we tend to do it a lot especially inn work conversations. We want to pass our point across so we keep on hammering on said point. Don’t do it
8. Forget the details
People care about the core that makes up you, and not what year or name or date you can list off the top of your head. Tell them about yourself, let them know the real you.
It is perhaps the most important skill you can learn. People would rather talk than listen because when they’re talking, they’re in control they don’t have to listen to anything they don’t want to.
If you don’t put in effort to pay attention and listen, then you’re not having a conversation you’re just two people yelling words at each other. Listen with the intent to understand than to reply.
10. Be Brief
A good conversation is like a miniskirt, short enough to retain interest but long enough to cover the subject.
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