Important Tips for Better Conversation Skills
It may seem that the smooth guy in the office is simply naturally gifted at the ways of conversation, or that the girl at the party was born only for engaging in chit chat. To those not seemingly blessed with this ability, it may shock you to learn that anyone can become an engaging conversationalist. Here are the most important tips to improve your conversation skills.
BE ENGAGING - Nothing is worse than trying to talk to someone who is aloof, or dry and monotone. That's where the word "monotonous" comes from, by the way. It's the social equivalent of sinking in quicksand. Be excited, be charming, figure out how your sense of humor can be used to your advantage.
BE PREPARED - Make lists of topics that you like and reinforce your knowledge of those topics for effective, fun communication. Also, brainstorm on areas that you are much less familiar with and dive in. This preparation not only helps with conversation, it's great for expanding your knowledge base.
BE ATTENTIVE - Again, this goes back to not being aloof. Be aware of the verbal and non-verbal cues of yourself and your partner, using these as a guide to navigating your conversation. Know when to attempt changing the subject, or when to focus hard on the current topic, or when an appropriate time comes for an open-ended question.
BE OPEN - Both verbally and non-verbally to develop better conversation skills. Open your stance, stand with your arms at your sides, face your partner and maintain eye contact. Also, don't be closed off in your speech. If your partner asks you open-ended questions, don't be mysterious or evasive. Try to be as inviting as you can in your responses, ideally encouraging as many follow-up questions as possible. This is a great way to build conversational momentum and keep it rolling.
BE CONSIDERATE - Know when your partner is bored, or no longer interested in the conversation. At such a point, politely end the conversation, thank them for their time and walk away. This simple gesture will be appreciated in those conversations that are difficult to maintain.
BE CAREFUL - Not to step on your partner's verbal toes. Don't be needlessly provocative or instigate confrontation. Try to be as open-minded as possible no matter the topic. Open-ended questions are a great way of preventing friction, as it is not about you making statements, but rather inquiries. Remember, most people do enjoy talking about themselves, whether they admit it or not. Use this to your advantage.