Hold interesting conversations with anyone (with these 4 tips)
Small talk might be easy for most of us. But what about holding conversations that make an impact? How do you talk to someone so that they will remember you even months or years after your 20-minute conversation?
Mastering your communication skills is an essential ability. Finding new friends, talking at a party or meeting someone on the street. These 6 tips will help you hold more interesting conversations.
1. Look for sparks
In order to hold interesting conversations, both you and the other person should be interested in the conversation topic. You know what you are interested in. But since you probably just met the other person, you might not know about his/her interests.
There is an easy way to find out — without even having to ask the other person: People who are interested in the topic, raise their eyebrows as a nonverbal sign. If you look for these signals, you will find out about what you can talk about.
2. Ask different questions
If you are not the type to talk a lot, asking questions is a great way to keep the conversation going. Use how- and what-questions instead of why, when and where. As a consequence, you will get more deep and complex answers.
Sometimes, it is nice to have some backup questions in mind. Here are a few examples:
- What has been the best part of your week so far?
- Besides work, what gets you up in the morning?
- Are you working on any passion projects at the moment?
3. Listen and nod
In any conversation, it is equally important to listen to what the other person says. If you are having trouble focusing, try this:
Focus only on what your right ear is hearing. That might sound weird, but can be explained scientifically:
The left part of the brain is responsible for comprehension and emotion. Because the left side of your brain is connected to the right side of your body, this shift in focus will allow your brain to work more efficiently.
While listening, nodding to what the other person is saying has been scientifically shown as helpful too. In effect, nodding exactly three times is the best way to show that you support what the other person says and make him feel comfortable.
Last but not least: Practice makes perfect. Any muscle needs to be trained before becoming strong. Similar to that, your brain needs the possibility to practice and train its communication skills.
To do that, you could set yourself a challenge: For the next month, try to talk to one new person a day. A stranger at the train station, the waitress, the cashier,…
By doing that, your brain will be able to learn much faster and adapt to the new situations.
In many countries, there is also a great club called „Toastmasters“. This club meets weekly and helps members to improve their communication skills. If you are interested, check it out at https://www.toastmasters.org.