Conversation is a form of communication which is usually informal and spontaneous. It can vary from witty banter and friendly debate to information exchanges and intellectual conversations. While there are those who find it very easy to talk to anyone about anything, many people struggle to have a meaningful conversation with others. However, the good news is that conversation is a skill that can be grown and mastered.
Here are some tips for enhancing your conversation skills:
1. Show interest
One of the best ways of being a good conversationalist is by showing genuine interest in others. When you are open to understanding and learning about new things, other people are also likely to find you interesting. Therefore, when having a conversation, be sure to maintain eye contact and listen actively. Displaying interest will encourage the other person to share even more information. Asking open-ended questions can be a very effective strategy for keeping the conversation going.
2. Be informed
If you are not well informed about issues, you won’t have much to talk about except yourself. To be a good conversationalist, you need to be aware of what is going on in the world around you. Stay informed on the latest local and international news. Be sure to keep up with the latest fashion trends, technological discoveries, and music. This will allow you to enlighten others with your knowledge as well give you a chance to learn something in return.
When having a conversation with someone, do your best to relax. Otherwise, you might find yourself saying something incoherent, silly or unrelated to the conversation. If you are feeling nervous, take a deep breath and speak slowly. In addition, you should smile warmly to give the impression that you are friendly and therefore approachable. When the other person seems cold, don’t take it personally. You could assume that they are having a bad day, are not feeling well or just don’t feel like talking.
4. Know when to speak and when to be silent
A conversation can get boring if one person is doing all the talking. Therefore, there needs to be a proper balance of give and take. Avoid interrupting people when they are talking. When you are speaking, look for opportunities to pause and allow the other person to interject. In addition, watch their body language to determine whether you should continue or stop. For example, if the other person keeps looking elsewhere as you speak, it could be an indication that they are bored and that you need to change the topic or stop speaking altogether.
Just like any other skill, the art of conversation can be improved with lots of practice. Don’t expect to become an expert overnight. One of the best ways of sharpening your conversation skills is by exposing yourself to as many social situations as possible. This could include seminars, dinners, parties, concerts or group excursions. The more people you talk to, the better you will become at it. Don’t forget to seek feedback from your close friends and family members.
Do you have any other suggestions that could help enhance conversation skills? Share with us in the comments section below.