Whether it’s hanging out with our friends, going for an interview or planning a first date, making conversations with others is a critical part of our daily life. How we make conversation with others influences their idea of us and can be important when trying to make a notable impression.
Here is a guide on some helpful tips for you to enhance the next time you have a conversation with someone.
Paying attention to what the other person says during a conversation is very important because it shows that you are interested in the conversation and allows you to ask questions related to their stories. This makes the person feel validated and respected for their feelings. Refrain from asking any questions during this time and simply take note of what they are trying to say. They will surely be appreciative and will consider doing the same when you talk.
Maintain Eye Contact and Good Body Language
Eye contact during a conversation is very important. However, it can be difficult as adults because we may find it to be self-conscious. But, directly looking at someone’s eyes when talking assures them that you are serious about the conversation. The goal is not to stare them down but to have “relaxed eye contact” (Waisman, 2023). Facing yourself toward the person and occasionally nodding along will also assure the person that they are being heard.
Knowing your target audience and starting a conversation relative to your familiarity with the relationship makes sure that your audience is engaged and tailored to their interests.
For example, it is acceptable to have a conversation with your friends about your relationships, whereas it may seem awkward and a cross of boundaries when talking about your relationships with your coworkers. Knowing your target audience will also help with maintaining your conversation to be clear and concise so they are still engaged.
Apart from opening your mouth to have a conversation, you should also keep an open mind as to the opinions of others when talking. It is key to acknowledge that everyone’s opinions are different and to not be judgemental when asking them questions or giving any backhanded responses.
“This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything the other person says” (Waisman, 2023). But just to be considerate of their ideologies and to make them feel comfortable.
Read Non-verbal Cues
Apart from having a conversation, nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language can be very helpful in understanding how a person is feeling during a conversation.
Understanding these cues will help to know if the other person is engaged in the conversation or if they would prefer to talk about something else. For example, if someone has their arms crossed and their feet are facing away from you, the chances are that they are not engaged and most likely bored with the conversation.
It is important that you respect someone’s boundaries and feelings when communicating. Being respectful means not interrupting them during a conversation and validating their opinions even if you do not completely agree with them. Also, empathizing with other people’s situations and needs can make them feel validated and more comfortable sharing personal experiences.
Diversify your Interests
When having a conversation, it may be helpful to have a variety of conversation topics instead of only talking about one. For example, only talking about your work life on your first date may be boring to the other person, whereas also talking about your hobbies and social life would be more interesting for the other person. Discussing a range of topics also makes it easier to find similar interests with others and to learn more about them.
The Iceberg Effect
Similar to an iceberg, people have many emotions and experiences within themselves that they do not reveal to everyone. They only discuss surface level facts about themselves and will only reveal more about themselves when more comfortable with a person.
Thus, knowing what type of information you share with others in a conversation is important because this will ensure the boundaries between both individuals. Since most of someone’s feelings are unknown, you must be mindful when listening to someone’s stories until they are comfortable sharing intimate details.
The Spokes Method
“With the Spokes Method, you don’t necessarily need to know anything about the topic in order to signal conversational interest to the other person” (Conroy, 2021). The Spokes Method is when you respond with questions or comments related to any topic that someone refers to.
This invokes the conversation and can be helpful when you are unaware of the topic that the other person may be referring to. It is a great way to learn more about someone, even if you may not have the same interests.
Regardless of how the conversation goes, it is always nice to end the conversation by giving feedback to the other person. Providing feedback helps to clarify any misunderstandings and even receive feedback on how to improve the conversation.
You can even share feedback on what type of conversations should be avoided and set healthy boundaries for when having a conversation next time.
Whether you plan on making a new friend, asking someone on a date, or attending an interview your body language and conversation are essential to make a good first look. Hopefully, these tips will help you to create great conversations with others and effectively build your social life.
Creating conversations can be very difficult, especially as adults, so you should never feel discouraged if it does not go according with someone. Instead, be helpful to excel in your conversation strategy in no time!