How to Carry a Conversation
If starting a conversation is tough, so is keeping the conversation alive. How does one carry a good conversation?
by English Trainer
- Be observant.--Observe the body language of the person you're talking to. Do you have eye contact? Is she showing interest, annoyance or boredom in what you're saying? Does he/she frequently look away? Is he/she doing something else while you're talking?(such as fixing his things) If you notice that he/she is getting annoyed or bored, gradually change the topic of the conversation, or rather, ask him/her a question about something else. As much as you're observant of the other person, observe yourself as well. Perhaps, you're unaware that you're displaying unwanted signs yourself.
- Listen well.--Does he/she give hints on disagreeing with your point of view or not liking the topic of the conversation? (He/she may not say it out loud but his/her intonation or choice of words should be enough for you to get the hint.) Is he/she trying to change the topic into something he/she is more comfortable with? If so, let that person take control of the conversation even for a while. Anyway, it's not a good idea to monopolize the conversation. People enjoy a conversation more if it's about them and what they want. If you want to prolong the conversation, make it more about them than about you.
- Know when to observe silence. --Sometimes, the best answer to a question is not a yes or a no, but silence, especially when you are not sure what side the other person is on. If you don't know how to answer the question, just shrug your shoulders with a smile or return the question to the person asking and hear his/her opinion first.
- Respect Opinions and Beliefs.--As much as possible, try to avoid bringing up sensitive topics that may start arguments. However, if it was the other person who brought the topic up, remember to respect his/her opinion about the said topic. It may turn out that in some of the topics of your conversation, you and the other person have opposite points of view. Give your side but do not insist it on him/her. Allow him/her to give his/her side too without any prejudice from you. People like talking to broadminded people.
- Be positive.--Smile often and be friendly. It'll break the ice and make the other person open up more to you. Try to avoid being negative when talking about some issues, yourself and others. People are naturally drawn to optimistic people. Use your sense of humor to lighten up the atmosphere too. Just make sure that your jokes are clean, not those that are offensive to anyone.
- Don't put people on a hot seat.--Avoid asking a battery of questions especially those personal in nature so as not to give an impression of interrogation. Let people open up their personal life to you instead of you squeezing it out from them.
- Be sincere.--Although people like getting compliments, they also only appreciate those that are sincere. If you really think his/her hair is a complete mess, don't even think of complimenting him/her on that for it may only embarrass or insult him/her.
by English Trainer