Do you dread talking to strangers or those you barely know? Some people seem to be born with the gift of gab. They talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, about anything. By understanding a few strategies and putting in a little practice, you can talk to anyone with ease, too. You don’t have to be mesmerizing. You just have to convince the other person they are.
A successful social conversation puts the emphasis on your conversation partner. It’s also a highly effective way to sell products and services.
You can become an excellent conversationalist:
- Make a good first impression. People make a lot of conclusions about you before you ever open your mouth. Conveying the message that you’re friendly, confident, and relevant provides a huge advantage. People will naturally want to engage with you and will listen to what you have to say. Stand or sit up straight. Put on your best confident smile. Look them in the eye.
- Pay attention. Everyone wants to matter. By giving your conversation partner your full attention, you can accomplish that with ease. Avoid looking at your watch, your phone, or scanning the room. Keep your attention on the other person.
- Avoid worrying about what you’ll say next. This could easily fall under the previous point, but deserves specific attention. Are you one of those people that’s viewed as socially awkward? That’s because you’re worried about what you’re going to say next. You’re not listening intently to the other person. When your mind is furiously working to think of something to say, you become fidgety, your eye contact wavers, and your anxiety is obvious. It makes others uncomfortable. Just listen, and the other person will give you plenty of material to move the conversation forward.
- Turn the spotlight on the other person. You’ll find that your most successful conversations will be about the other person. People love it when you show an interest in them. Keep turning the conversation toward the other person, their interests, and opinions. Your new friend will greatly enjoy the conversation.
Act like a parrot. Worried about running out of things to say? Repeat the last few words of your conversation partner. “So, you went scuba diving on the great barrier reef?” Then just sit back and relax as they spill the details of their story. (Remember: nearly everyone loves to talk about themselves!)
- Always have something interesting to say. You will have to contribute something interesting to the conversation on occasion. Be prepared. You wouldn’t blindly reach into a dark closet and wear the first thing your hand touched. There’s no reason to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Be prepared. Watch the news before you head out the door and be aware of the latest global and local happenings. Have a story or two prepared.
- Expect success. Your expectations and results match more often than not. Expect to have a good conversation. Believe that you’re a great conversationalist. Visualize conversational success.
- Give one sincere compliment. Avoid making a direct compliment, because it can be potentially awkward and begs for a response. “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen” is too much.“Wow, you obviously work out. What type of exercise do you do?” is very complimentary without going too far. One sincere compliment is enough.
Conversational skills are learnable. You don’t have to be born a sociable extrovert to be an effective conversation partner. In fact, introverts often make the best conversation partners. Introverts are often happy to allow the other person to have to spotlight and talk about themselves.
Take the time to learn the skills and techniques of effective interpersonal communication. You can be the hit of the party without saying a lot.