Conversation is civilized speech. It’s more purposeful than chat; more humane than gossip; more friendly than debate.
It’s the encounter of two polished minds — tactful enough to listen, confident enough to express their true beliefs; subtle enough to search out the reasons behind the thoughts.
It’s a work of art with more than one creator. So, quite often, two or more people can’t rise to the level of conversation. They talk with one another. It may be cheerful, it may be polite, it may be a bit funny, it may be informative. But it lacks something critical to the conversation — the danger of seriousness.
When it comes to the art of conversation we’ve all met people who seem to have the ability for it. They can talk to anybody about anything and they seem to do it with complete comfort. And while it’s true that some are born with the gift of chat, luckily for the rest of us, conversation skills can be developed and mastered.
The art of conversation is a necessary skill in life.
Conversations introduce you to people, important people who could be your mentors, employers, employees, partners, or friends. Without conversations as the foundation for those relationships, you’ll have a hard time building a social circle, starting a business, or advancing your career. Here’re some great tips:
- Lead with a compliment: Compliments are the best possible way to begin a conversation. Not only do they provide a perfect opening line and a possible door for discussion, but they also make the person feel good about themselves. Starting the conversation off on a positive note is crucial to keep the conversation going.
- Embrace small talk: Small talk is taboo to some people, and while it’s not the most satisfying type of conversation, it’s both functional and necessary. It leads the way to deeper conversation, much in the way that a car must gradually accelerate to a certain speed rather than hitting top-gear instantaneously. These are all shared experiences that anyone can relate to, so they can work for any individual.
- Ask lots of questions: If you want to move from small talk to real conversation, you’ve got to look for any prospect that leads you to change the topic. Don’t try to abruptly change and talk about something deep or substantial; instead, patiently wait for the opportunity to present itself. Pay attention as much as you can to the conversation and use them to move it forward. Try to be as specific and inquisitive as possible.
- Be nice: This should be obvious, but don’t neglect it. Your level of friendliness can make or break the openness of the other party involved. Carry the conversation with a big smile and open body language, and keep yourself open, receptive, and smiling politely for as much of the conversation as you can. Try not to cross your arms, appear distracted, or let your eyes wander. Maintain eye contact when you can and go out of your way to show that you’re genuinely interested in what people have to say.
- Let the other person do the talking: If you go into a conversation and immediately begin dominating it with your stories, comments, and explanations, the other person may immediately become disinterested. Instead, try to keep the focus on them as much as possible. Utilizing frequent questions is a good strategy to this end. If you find that the conversation is falling, feel free to jump in yourself. Tell an amusing story or a personal story that may help the conversation move ahead.
- Keep it light: Try to keep the conversation as light and friendly as possible. If you immediately start complaining about your job or talking about what’s wrong with your life, people will want to avoid you. If you tell a joke or an amusing story, they’ll be far more likely to stay. People tend to settle toward others with a positive attitude, so keep your conversational material positive. If you struggle with this, try memorizing a handful of good jokes or good stories to use when you meet new people.
A conversation isn’t an initiative designed to harvest an external profit, a contest where a winner gets a prize, nor is it an activity of analysis; it’s a spontaneous intellectual adventure.
Finally, here’s a video that’ll help you become a better speaker so that people listen to you.
While it’s true that some people simply have an innate natural charm, the art of conversation is a skill in which all of us can become competent. You may never be eloquent, but you can learn to converse in ways that make you a valued party guest, set you apart on social occasions, impress colleagues, and win you, new friends.