The art of conversation is an underappreciated skill. Few people seem to know how to start a conversation, or even what to say once they do. It’s not surprising that so many people are unsatisfied with their social lives-they just don’t have any idea how to make friends!
Fortunately, there are plenty of simple tricks you can use to become a better conversationalist. In this article, we’ll give you 10+ simple tricks that will help you become a better speaker as well as a listener. You don’t have to be an extrovert to do these tricks-they work for introverts too!
Create a connection
The easiest way to start a conversation is by finding something in common with the person you’re talking to. Usually, this means asking “How do you know [the person you’re trying to talk to]?” For example, if they mention that someone in their group has an unusual last name, you can ask, “Do you know them well?” This will help get the conversation started and give you a topic to talk about.
Start with a question
Another great way to start a conversation is by asking a question. This can be anything from “What do you do for work?” to “Where are you from?” Questions help engage the other person in the conversation and also give you something to talk about.
Use open-ended questions
Open-ended questions are a great way to keep a conversation going. These are questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no, such as “What do you think of this restaurant?” or “How was your day today?” Open-ended questions help the other person feel like they have an opportunity to participate in the conversation and share their thoughts.
Mirror the other person’s body language
When you’re talking to someone, try to mirror their body language. This will help them feel more comfortable and open up to you. If they cross their arms, cross your arms too. If they lean in, lean in too. Mirroring the other person’s body language will make them feel like you’re on the same page and make them more likely to share their thoughts with you.
Use positive reinforcement
When the other person says something interesting, be sure to give them positive reinforcement. Let them know that you’re interested in what they have to say by nodding your head or saying “aha” or “uh-huh.” This will encourage them to keep talking and may even give you more ideas on how to keep the conversation going.
Don’t dominate the conversation
One way not to make friends is by dominating the conversation. If you’re always doing all of the talking, people will get bored and start looking for someone else to talk to. It’s important to create a balance where both people are sharing their thoughts equally. You never want your audience to feel like they don’t have a voice!
If you want other people to pay attention, then do the same thing yourself! If you find yourself distracted by something-like Facebook or another engagement-it means that your attention isn’t focused on your conversation partner. This can be hurtful because it shows that you aren’t interested in what they have to say. Make sure you give them your full attention so they’ll feel more comfortable opening up to you.
Ask follow-up questions
If the person you’re talking to shares an interesting opinion or thought, be sure to ask follow-up questions! You should ask something like “Oh really? Why do you think that?” or “What makes you say that?” These types of questions will help get them thinking about their thoughts and help the other person feel more confident sharing them with other people later on. Asking follow-up questions is great because not only does it keep the conversation going, but it also gives you more information about what they’re thinking.
Be a good listener
One of the best ways to keep a conversation going is to be a good listener. People love talking about themselves and if you give them that opportunity, they’ll love talking to you too! It can be tempting to think of what you’ll say next instead of listening to what someone has to say, but this will help build your relationship with other people. You’ll impress them by being so focused on their thoughts and feelings-it’s not something everyone does!
Don’t forget your manners!
If you don’t know how to behave around others, then it might seem like there’s no hope for you at parties or other social gatherings. But this isn’t true! Simple things, like remembering your manners, go a long way. Things like saying “please” and “thank you” or holding the door open for someone will make people feel more comfortable talking with you.
Take advantage of the silence
If the conversation is flowing well, then sometimes it’s okay to just let it come to an end naturally instead of forcing it on yourself. If both people are done talking about one topic but haven’t moved onto another topic yet, then let the silence happen! It can be awkward to sit in uncomfortable silence, so this might seem strange-but who knows? Maybe the other person will be the one to break the silence!
Use body language to your advantage
Your body language can speak volumes, even when you don’t say a word. If you want to appear interested in someone, lean in and make eye contact. If you want to show that you’re bored, cross your arms and look away. People subconsciously pick up on these signals, so it’s important to be aware of them!
Avoid controversial topics
If you know that a certain topic is going to start a heated argument, then it’s best to avoid it altogether! There’s no point in ruining a perfectly good conversation over something that doesn’t matter. Save those debates for another time and place where the conversation will be productive.
Gossiping can make other people feel very uncomfortable, especially if they’re the topic of discussion! Even if you aren’t talking about a person in particular, it can still make your audience feel like you think less of them for something that has nothing to do with them. If you want to avoid creating an awkward atmosphere, then stay away from gossip!
There’s no better way to keep a conversation going than by complimenting someone else! It makes other people feel awesome and gives you a great opportunity to get on their good side so they’ll want to talk with you more later. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with a little flattery now and then, right?
Humor is a great way to lighten the mood and make people feel comfortable around you. If you can find a way to make someone laugh, they’ll associate positive feelings with you and want to talk to you more! Just be careful not to use humor at someone else’s expense that’s just mean.
Find common ground
If you can find something that both of you have in common, it will make the conversation a lot easier! It could be anything from the TV show you’re watching to the food you’re eating. Once you find something that the two of you share, use it to your advantage!
Open up about yourself
If you’re having trouble starting a conversation, then maybe it’s best to wait until someone else talks to you first. You can make small talk with people, but the trick is to open up to them for them to want to keep talking with you! People love getting personal; if they find out that you’re an interesting person too, then they’ll feel more connected to you and won’t ever want to stop talking with you.
Practice, practice, practice!
This is probably the best way to become a better conversationalist. The more you talk to people, the more comfortable you’ll feel doing it. It might seem daunting at first, but with enough practice, you’ll be able to hold a conversation with anyone!
If you’re looking to improve your conversational skills, then these 19 tricks are a great place to start! Just remember to be yourself, relax, and have fun-the rest will follow! Thanks for reading! If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and family! 🙂