Have More Meaningful Conversations. It’s Easy!
Being an excellent conversationalist is part science and part art. For most of us, it takes practice to be successful at communicating verbally. A great conversationalist always has someone to talk to!
There are plenty of little tricks and strategies you can use to enhance your conversation experience. You’ll enjoy your conversations more, and so will the other person. Verbal skills are great for advancing your career and social life.
Practice these techniques to enhance your verbal skills:
- Lower your requirements for success. When it comes to making small talk at a party, too often we want to be the most amazing conversationalist the world has ever seen. It’s not necessary to be the “best” anything to leave a positive impression or to have a successful conversation.
Lowering your performance requirement will allow you to relax and be a better conversation partner.
- Show enthusiasm for the chance to speak with the other person. Make the other person feel special. You know how good it feels when someone is excited to see you. See if you can create a similar feeling in the other person.
- Be curious. If you want to be interesting to others, be interested in them. Others are more willing to be open and share if they believe you have a genuine interest in them and what they have to say. Ask pertinent questions to show interest and keep the conversation flowing.
Good questions are a great way to keep the conversation open and keep the other person engaged.
- Listen well. Listening is half of the conversation. Keep your eyes and attention on the other person. Think about what is being said. Avoid thinking about what you want to say next. Just keep your attention on what’s being said to you.
- Ensure that you’re both understood. Make sure you heard what you thought you heard. Verify that you’ve been understood, too. Good communication requires that the relayed information was received and understood.
- Be open and honest, but polite. Honesty and openness are refreshing. Too many people are overly concerned with being politically correct or socially acceptable. This isn’t an excuse to be rude, but having an opinion that you’re willing to share puts you head and shoulders above most.
- Wait your turn. Avoid interrupting someone. Just because you’re done listening doesn’t mean they were done speaking. Wait until the other person is done talking and then feel free to respond. The other person will appreciate the consideration.
- Be interesting. Unless there was recently a tornado or a record high temperature, no one other than a meteorologist wants to talk about the weather. Have a couple of good stories ready to go at a moment’s notice.
- One easy way to be interesting is to stay on top of current events. Watch the news while you sweat your cares away on the treadmill. However you manage it, ensure you know what’s going on in the world.
- If you know what the other person is passionate about, you can use that as a conversation topic.
- End the conversation when the time is right. It’s better to go out on a high note than after the conversation has died. This way, they’ll be eager to speak with you again soon.
We aren’t taught how to be a great conversationalist in school, but there are many ways you can develop your speaking and conversing skills. When you do, it will help your career, make social events more enjoyable, and boost your social life in general.
Last year I joined Toastmasters and it has boosted my confidence in talking, sharing, and starting conversations. My Toastmasters club is meeting online, so if you would like to give it a try, email me or visit the Portsmouth Toastmasters website.
Improve your Conversation Skills
- Do you get sweaty when you have to talk in front of a group?
- Do you forget what you planned to say?
- Do you avoid altogether situations where you have to talk?
- Would you like to become a great conversationalist and speaker?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, I invite you to join me at Toastmasters. We meet online, every 1st and 3rd Thursday at 6:30 pm (Eastern Time). You can come as my guest as often as you wish.
To you would like to visit, you can send me email or complete the form on our club website. Visit Portsmouth Toastmasters and select the Contact Us menu link. Complete the popup form and our Sergeant at Arms will send you the link.