5 Tips on How to Have a Great Conversation
Do you find it hard to talk to people, not just in large crowds but even in a one-on-one situation? What is going on in your mind when this is happening? What might be stopping you from making great conversation?
There are a number of things that could be going on. For example, you could be simply struggling to think of something to say, self consciousness, nervousness, fear of being judged, or thinking negative thoughts about yourself. There could also be other factors holding you back. For example, are you speaking so quietly that people cannot hear you properly?
If you are simply struggling to think of something to say, here are some really simple, practical things that could help:
Be interested in the other person! This one works a charm, and it is not hard to do! You just need to stop listening to your own thoughts and focus on what the person speaking is saying…. Smile if they are talking about something funny, show sympathy if they are talking about something bad that happened to them… and ask follow up questions if you can! You just need to get into this habit and it really works. People are flattered when you are interested in them.
Come armed with three or four good stories, maybe some things that you have seen in the news. If a lull appears in the conversation, you could say something like “hey, I was on the way here and I read something quite interesting….” and then tell the story! Hopefully they will be interested and it will spark further discussions!
Stop filtering. Ok this might be easier said than done, but it is about not letting your thoughts stop you and being less self-conscious. Maybe just try partly removing your filter and stop thinking to yourself “should I really say this”? Try to practise it with people that you know better first. The only thing to avoid is things that could be sensitive, for example things concerning religion or politics.
If you normally speak quietly, really try to talk a little louder than your normal speaking voice, and make your words clear. Strangers don’t know you so it might take them time to get used to your way of speaking, also there could be other people talking around you which would make it harder for them to hear you!
You could be thinking lots of negative thoughts about yourself which are filling up your mind and stopping you from focussing on the other person and the conversation! This can be a hard one to overcome. Try to remember that people, in some ways, are not going to read as much into your one comment as you might think, and are not as focussed on what you say or do as you think! They are probably thinking the same thoughts that you are about themselves, but they may not show it!
There are some great websites that could help with further tips on how to improve your conversation skills.Try reading this one for how to talk to people that you have just met.
By Ayesha Hamid
See more of her work www.ayeshahamid.co.uk