I am very sure that you have been in this awkward situation before where a conversation just dies down like a fire without wood! Awks! How to overcome these situations? What if you are an introvert, maybe you are shy and lack confidence? Do you fake until you make it?
Don’t worry, below are some useful tips on how to keep a conversation going whether it is with a stranger, friend who you no longer share the same interests with or even your students. I believe these handy tips for keeping a conversation flowing naturally with have you bubbling away in no time.
Step 1: Listen
Yes, this might seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many people think they are listening but truly are not and trust me, people can immediately pick up when you are not listening. Those with children will know this is true.
When you show you are actively listening, this person will feel more confident and comfortable speaking to you and sharing information. You will show that you truly care about them and what they are saying. Even if you find the topic boring, keep eye contact, nod and let your body language show that you are listening and interested. Do not rehearse your response in your mind while the person is talking, pay attention to the main points and…. Lastly, never ever whip out your phone, tablet or any electronic device when someone is having a conversation with you. It is extremely rude and completely unacceptable. If someone ever pulls this stunt on you, value yourself and your time and walk away until that person learns some manners. I sure do!
Step 2: Show interest
Again, fake it till you make it. We all can have boring conversations but it is no excuse to be rude. Let’s say the person mentions the weather (the obvious awkward silence filler). It’s important to respond with interest. How do we show interest?
— You have verbal and non-verbal responses.
— You can smile, laugh or even nod. You can let your body language do the talking for you.
— You can also turn your body towards the speaker or even tilt your head to the side.
— You can also pick out a small thing mentioned by the speaker and ride on that by making a small comment such as: “I’ve heard that Summer in Russia is amazing and that the streets are buzzing with people!”
This will show the speaker that you are absolutely paying attention and truly interested.
Step 3: Open-ended questions to find common ground
You can use question tags such as: “really?” “is that so?”. If you paid attention to detail you can ask for more information about the person. Here is an example from entrepreneur.com: “What do you like best about what you do? You mentioned that you were in [industry]. What got you started in that direction? What are some of your biggest challenges?”
It’s important to get creative, you never know! You might discover some mutual interests and gain a friend or work connection!
Step 4: That person is invested
Keep in mind that at the end of the day you are either mingling or networking!
First impressions are a given. Make use of this opportunity, you might glad you did. Not only are you taking the time to listen to that person, he or she has also invested his or her time to speak with you. Yes, you! Not someone else. Everyone has their own agenda and objectives when approaching someone and starting up small talk and most people enjoy talking about themselves, remember that!
We are all walking billboards one way or another.
In conclusion, rather stick out those awkward conversations and change your mindset and approach. I am confident that if you follow these hints that your conversations will blossom and amazing opportunities will arise from it.
I have added some links below which has some useful information and keywords that might be useful for you:
That’s it from me today, I hope you found this article valuable and as usual, I love to hear from you so please leave your comments, feedback, and recommendations below!