Starting a conversation can be tough.
Keeping it going can be even tougher!
It doesn’t have to be hard. Here are 10 quick tips that can improve your conversation skills and help you be better at small talk.
Get people to talk about themselves
People love talking about themselves. It’s everyone’s #1 favorite topic. In fact, at least one study has shown that talking about yourself triggers the rewards part of your brain. It makes other people feel good, and people remember how you make them feel. If you are not sure what to talk about, get the other person talking about themselves.
Find common ground
People like people who are similar to them. Especially when you meet someone for the first time, your goal is to find common ground with them and to build off of that. The more similarities you find with the other person, the more comfortable and connected both of you will feel.
Be more interested than interesting
Many people think that the key to being a great conversationalist is to be interesting and talk a lot. But it’s not. The key to being a great conversationalist is to be interested, not interesting. Be a great listener. Don’t be too quick to jump in with your own story. Show interest in theirs. Dig deeper and ask questions.
Act confident, even if you don’t feel like it. Act it, and the rest will follow. If you act confident, your body will show confidence. If you are feeling unconfident, your body will show that as well. Act confident, use good posture, smile, look people in the eye, and be bold.
Prepare for the conversation
Prepare for the conversation. If you know that you are going to be talking to a certain person, look the person up and find out about his or her interests. Learn about the town or area you will be in.
Research current events or the latest movies or TV shows. Prepare general questions to have memorized and on hand ready to use. Doing this gives you topics to talk about, gives you something to say or ask about when there is a lull, and helps you build connections with people faster and easier.
Use your surroundings
Your surroundings are ripe for topics of conversation. The environment you are in, the location, the food, the smells, the music, what people are wearing, and so on are all topics that you can use to make a comment or ask a question to get a conversation going or to keep it going.
Implement The 2-Second Rule
It’s easy to get excited about what we want to say. The problem is we then often interrupt or jump in right after the other person finishes speaking. Don’t do that.
Nobody likes to be interrupted, and if you interrupt them, they are less likely to listen to you. Implement the 2-second rule. When someone finishes speaking, wait 2 seconds before talking. This accomplishes two things.
First, it makes sure the other person is actually finished and not taking a breath or collecting their thoughts. Second, it shows the other person that you are listening and thinking about what they are saying before responding.
Play the Host
Play the host. Don’t wait around till someone comes and talks to you. Go to people and talk to them. Introduce yourself. If you are in a group and someone else joins it, introduce yourself and introduce them to the group. It makes you look confident, like a leader, and people often appreciate someone taking the lead.
Use the person’s name
People love hearing their names. When you take the time to learn, remember, and use the other person’s name, it makes them feel like you care and that they are important to you. Learn the person’s name and use it during the conversation and whenever you see them again.
Compliments are a wonderful way to start a conversation. It makes the person feel good, and it is a good lead-in to get them to talk. Compliment someone then ask a question about what you complimented them on. For example, you could compliment someone’s jewelry and ask where they got it or if it has special meaning, etc.
Go Forth and Conversate
These tips should help you be able to talk with anyone, anywhere. It may take time and practice, but you will get better and find yourself more confident talking with others in almost any situation.
Go out there and try it. Be bold. Let us know how it goes.