Why is it so hard to talk to people?
Oddly enough, we’re communicating all the time. But living in the era of direct messages, tweets, emails, and texts, it’s becoming harder and harder to just talk to each other. The sad thing is, conversation is a skill and an art that’s needed more than ever.
To truly get ahead in business or your personal life, at some point, you will need to know how to talk to other people using something more than text on a screen. If making conversation is intimidating to you, then use these tips to master the art of being able to talk to anyone, anywhere.
Ask More Interesting Questions
Rather than asking questions that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ try asking questions requiring more complicated answers. For example, if you’re in a networking situation, learn something about the people you’re going to meet. Being able to ask specifically about a new project they’re developing leads to better and more interesting answers than a question along the lines of, “What’s new in your company” which is too broad to answer well.
Forget the Weather
The tendency of falling back on the weather as a topic of conversation is both tedious and a killer move to the interaction. Turn weather talks back around by asking a related question but also redirect the conversation at the same time, such as, “You’re right, it’s been pretty hot out. It makes me think of heading somewhere cooler. Tell me, where did you go on the best vacation you’ve ever had?”
Learn the Power of Adding On
This is a pretty simple technique where you take what someone else has said and add something to it, adding a question at the end. This helps keep things rolling even if someone else has stopped the conversation cold with a yes/no question or something about the weather. For example, if you’re asked if you saw the game last night, you might say, “Yes, that play at the end was really something. It reminded me of a time when I went to see them play in person. Tell me, what’s the best game you ever saw?”
Pay Attention to the Details
Become the person who notices when the situation is going south. Be ready to jump in with a question or a new topic when you see people are getting uncomfortable with the situation. For a quick fix, pay a compliment. It puts the focus on someone else entirely and provides a handy distraction.
Becoming a great conversationalist will become more natural with practice. Remember, the important thing is to relax, and be your friendly, personable self. By paying attention to the discussion and taking some care in choosing your words, you’ll find yourself having great conversation in no time.
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