I consider good conversation a real contender for the greatest pleasure in life. Unfortunately, the art of having a great conversation is not something that comes naturally to many of us.
Despite this, I have been fortunate to have enjoyed some great conversation partners over the past decade. This is mostly because I am drawn to good speakers and try to pressure myself into their worlds. Over time, I’ve grown a lot by trying to emulate and learn from their methods – and see what works for me personally.
In some social situations, I still sometimes feel like a fish out of water. I find it difficult, for example, when I am a stranger among a more established group of friends. But in most small group settings, I consider myself an above average speaker, or at least someone who cares a bit more about the craft than others.
Are you interested in improving the quality of conversations in your life? You must be.
Great conversation is fun for all parties. Upgrading your conversation skills is one very tangible way to love those around you. According to a research article published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in 2011, people are Happier and healthier When they socialize, a little effort goes a long way in deepening those bonds.
Here are my tips for better conversations. I hope, at the very least, they inspire you to take more seriously the exciting quest of life to connect more deeply with the people in your life.
Be curious. The best speakers I’ve seen have a strong drive to understand people and ideas. For them, each person is a gateway to a different world and a unique set of experiences. Best of all, curiosity is more likely to be contagious, according to A recent study Published in Cognitive Science – which means your curiosity encourages others to join in the fun.
be weak. Author Justin Cronin says that knowing and knowing is the ultimate desire, the heart of love. One of the quickest ways to hack surface conversation is to reveal a weak side of your life and follow up with a question that invites the other person into that thin space.
Signal readiness. For the conversation to take off, both parties need to feel the other party’s willingness to commit and be present. Indicate that you are willing to speak through your body language, eye contact, word choice – what you are trying to convey is that you are curious and not in a hurry.
Share stories. Most people underestimate the power of simple everyday stories and rely heavily on the “You Won’t Believe This” type of story. in an interview In 2018, Uri Hesson, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University, shared his conviction that stories are one of the most effective forms of communication. male Study 2010 One of the brain scans showed strong neural alignments between the narrator’s brain and the listener’s brain – suggesting a shared emotional experience.
fill the silence. Pausing in conversation for an extended period of time can be embarrassing, even among close friends. Not everyone will agree with this, but except for settings where you do some activity together besides talking, I think it’s a good idea to keep the conversation from fading out. There is no single tip for getting better at this, but it’s something anyone can improve with intentional effort.
Read the room. Good speakers don’t force the conversation on others. In the beginning of the conversation, when I feel the type of encounter the other person is open to encountering, I try to introduce topics so that there is an easy slope to go deeper, and an easy slope if the other person is not interested.
Put something to eat and drink. An awkward silence isn’t always the result of boredom, sometimes neither side has a knack for moving on to a new topic before the old one is gone. There is a great solution to this problem: put food and drink in. This allows the stop to feel more natural and for short, light talk about food/drink selection to gently fill in the gaps.
Learn how to interrupt with grace. A common tip is not to interrupt the person speaking. This tip may be useful in a few places, but I find it doesn’t work for very lively or fun discussions. A good conversation is dynamic with lively exchanges rather than two people exchanging monologues with each other. The best interruptions don’t steal the show, but instead turn on the speaker by showing you’re excited and following closely. Among the closest friends, you can even take the floor to make a side point, only to flip the floor again.
Show that you are listening. I feel like one of my talents is to get people talking. Not rocket science or the psychological trick I use, but simply the fact that I listen intently, without judgment. A study in 2014, published in International Journal of Listening, stated that participants who received active listening felt more understanding and satisfaction with their conversation. When people feel that you really care about them, the doors to conversation open.
cuddle rabbit tracks. Lots of conversations, in my opinion, struggle all the time or screw up because new and exciting shades aren’t pursued aggressively enough. Obviously, if the energy is still high on a particular topic, then go ahead. But when things slow down, or an intriguing discursive comes to mind – don’t be afraid to explore it. At the very least, frame the idea quickly, and see how your conversation partner responds. Great conversations take you places you never expected – but you have to let it work.
Be unexpected. Needless to say, good conversation is never boring. But what makes something boring? Lots of predictability. The best speakers say things you wouldn’t expect them to say and have ideas you wouldn’t expect them to say. Part of this is simply being an interesting human being, which is something you can’t fake. But the other part is about delivery. Don’t just give an opinion – make a bold claim and see if you can back it up. Don’t just ask a question – check your topic like a detective, and try to get to the heart of the matter.
Find what you have in common, and build from there. If it isn’t clear now, good conversation is an art, not a science. There are few hard and fast rules. But in general, the most mutually satisfying conversations are built on the basis of common interests and experiences. When I know I’m going to be spending a lot of time with someone, I will often review these commonalities in my mind to direct the flow of the conversation.
Don’t be afraid to mix the mood. Some conversations will be serious from the start. Others will be mostly light-hearted. But here’s an interesting pattern I’ve noticed: The deepest laughter and the most serious conversation often blend together. There is something about true human connection that frees us from expressing our widest range of emotions. I think this is good for the soul and should be encouraged.