We all know that small talk can be awkward if it goes on for too long. However, you can engage in a great lengthy discussion about anything with anyone but only if you take an interest at the very start the conversation.
Every person has to interact with another person at some point whether at a networking event or baby shower but to truly understand the behaviour of a specific other of interest would mean observing their human interaction over a long period of time. So in the meantime, here are some strategies you can weave in to take a pointless chit-chat to the next level and communicate a conversation worth having with the person you are most interested in.
Avoid shallow topics with no depth
You should avoid talking about the weather like the plague unless it is your great aunt Susan. Although it is a neutral topic of choice, this is quite shallow and isn’t impressive during any social interaction. Assume the other person has deep thoughts and consider that whoever you are talking to has great knowledge.
If asked a question about your lifestyle such as your career or where you like to socialise at the weekend, never answer it simply with little elaboration. Here is your chance to find similarities between you both and common interests because just as nature would have it, we all prefer people who are just like us that we can relate to.
Focus on the topic of discussion and avoid rambling on with irrelevant information. Be clear and concise so that the person on the receiving end of the conversation can process the words you speak, which will also prevent them from feeling overwhelmed. If you feel yourself struggling with verbal diarrhoea, take a moment to pause and bounce the ball back in their court by asking them a question.
Listen to hear, before responding
Yes, a conversation is a two-way stream, but bear in mind that there is nothing more irritating than being asked a question to completely ignored when responding with an answer. It is a tricky part of understanding how to have a two-sided conversation, and so many people lack the skill actively listen. To have a great conversation, it is worth remembering that everyone likes to be heard and felt understood, so the idea really is to be quiet and listen to what someone has to say before responding.
For goodness sake, remember their name!
Very few are good at actually remembering the name of the person they are speaking to. A person’s name is hugely important to them, so try your best to remember their name and they’ll remember you for it. Not only does this attention to detail convey you respect them, but it will make the person you are talking to feel valued.
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