Conversation is a powerful thing. Being an expert communicator will help you connect with people and build lifelong relationships. This will in turn have a huge positive impact on both your personal and professional lives. However, you do not have to be born a great conversationalist; adopting certain habits will help you get people to enjoy speaking to you. So how can you develop strong conversation skills?
Here are some tips to help you get started.
Appearing approachable will make you come across as a credible and trustworthy person without saying a word. This will ensure you do not scare people away and that your interactions go smoothly.
Whenever you are around people, you should always be mindful of your body language. Have a slight smile, a friendly facial expression, and use the eyebrow flash. You may also want to start the conversation with greetings and say the other person’s name. This will help to improve your mood and reduce tension.
TALK LESS, LISTEN MORE
A good conversation should give all the parties involved equal time to share their ideas. This is why you should talk less and listen more. Nod your head, lean forward slightly to hear the other person better, hold eye contact, and ensure you remain fully engaged throughout the conversation.
To improve your conversational skills, reflect on what you are about to say and talk slowly. This way, you will appear well-balanced and collected. When given the opportunity, seek clarification and ask pertinent questions. Lastly, listen actively, pay attention to details and remember to pay compliments.
TRY NOT TO INTERRUPT
Whenever you are involved in a conversation, you should be patient and thoughtful. Resist the temptation to interrupt or finish other people’s sentences. Waiting for your turn to respond will allow the other person to express their thoughts, effectively contributing to a meaningful conversation.
Similarly, you should avoid changing the subject in the middle of a conversation. In case this happens, acknowledge that you digressed and find ways to get the conversation back on track. This will make you look attentive, polite, and professional.
SHOW A REAL INTEREST
Having a genuine interest in everyone you speak to will go a long way in helping you to improve your conversational skills. Make sure the other person has your full attention and try to see their point of view. Avoid distractions and show the people you are speaking to that they matter.
To build rapport and trust, focus on what you have in common. When your conversation partner feels like you are someone they can relate to, they are more likely to feel close to you. Similarly, you should appreciate that everyone is unique and embrace the differences.
Reading can help to improve your communication skills in many ways. The habit will allow you to grow your vocabulary and find the right words to communicate effectively. Also, reading more dialogues exposes you to more conversations and enhances your ability to form cohesive sentences.
Reading enables you to stay well-informed and gives you a lot to talk about. This way, you will be in a better position to offer interesting insights when you engage in a conversation. Lastly, you will be better able to keep up with conversations on different topics and see things from other people’s perspectives.
Even as you work on improving your conversational skills, remember to respect other people’s opinions. Avoid imposing your opinion, judging, or harshly criticizing your conversation partners. When there are differences of opinion, disagree softly by letting the other person know you do not see things the same way.
Being a good conversationalist can be taught through practice. This is why you should consistently apply these techniques to all your daily conversations. Also, working with a communication coach will enable you to become a smooth talker and a better listener.