No individual can live without conversing in this world. We have to converse with our family, friends, colleagues, bosses, etc. Some people might like conversing with others whilst others may not. Conversation has nothing to do with being shy or outspoken. In this article I will tell you how to converse and how to improve your conversation skills.
How Do You Hold A Conversation?
Approach: Approach any person you would like to hold a conversation with. If you want someone else to approach you then don’t stand in a defensive stance like folded arms and stiff frame.
Greet: If it is a person you are familiar with then greet them by their name and smile or nod at them and wish them a good morning/afternoon/evening. If you have approached a person you like then don’t be shy and just start off with a simple “hi”. If a stranger has approached you then don’t hesitate in greeting them. If you are approaching a stranger then don’t forget to introduce yourself.
Introduction: When you meet new people don’t forget to introduce yourself. If you are already conversing with person X and person Y approaches you then introduce yourself as well as person X to person Y. This way all are involved in a conversation otherwise it could interpreted as you being rude. If you are in a formal setting then introduce yourself with your designation or full name. If your are in an informal place then your first name would do. Be careful while introducing yourself to strangers. You don’t want to give away too much information if you cannot fully judge a person’s intentions.
After introducing yourself allow the other person to introduce themselves to you. If they don’t, then you can politely ask them “And you are?”
The Conversation: Start the conversation on a lighter note and then move on to the main topic. You don’t want to be abrupt here. Just start with a common topic, like if you are attending a party then start off with “Great party, right?” If you are conversing with a friend then be informal and give them a warm smile to make them feel wanted and just be yourself. If you are in a standing position then lean closer to the person you are having a conversation with. But don’t block their personal space.
Remember this: we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. This means listen to twice as much as you say. If you have a habit of speaking a lot, then learn to hold your tongue. Remember speaking a lot can make you look foolish at times. If you don’t speak at all or are shy then let me tell you that conversations don’t have anything to do with shyness. Start off by replying to the speaker. Even a shy person can hold a conversation. Especially if it is with someone really close to them… Even their own cat. Try to have clarity of thought- having clarity of thought helps conversation flow smoothly. But even if you don’t have clarity then you can politely ask the person you are talking to for an explanation. If you are scared of being judged then don’t be. This is how all six billion people in this world have gained knowledge-by asking. Don’t forget your manners. If you are the one hosting a party then offer them refreshments. Be polite. And precise. Answer in open ended questions to encourage the speaker to elaborate. Don’t interrupt the speaker as it is rude. Even if you disagree wait until the person has finished talking. If there is a communication barrier like language or accent then try using hand gestures to communicate. Also try conversing in a noise free zone.
After the person you are conversing with is done talking then pause for a few seconds before replying. This will serve many purposes; that is it will help your mind analyse what the speaker has said and will also give the speaker the feeling that you are actually thinking about what they said and are taking them seriously. Establish a comfort level with the person you are conversing to so that both you and he are not hesitant to talk freely.
Parting: While parting, exchange numbers if necessary and say a warm goodbye. A good way to depart is by saying: “If you ever need anything just call me.” Otherwise it could be just a goodbye and an “It was a pleasure meeting you,” say that even if it wasn’t. Remember treat others the way you would like to be treated. Don’t be embarrassed of yourself and don’t get self-conscious. Also remember any person you ever meet has one thing in common with you and that is humanity. Keep practicing your skills with anyone you meet and soon you would find yourself being called a good conversationalist.
I found this book really helpful for holding a good conversation and also making friends: “How to start a conversation and make friends”