How To Hold A Conversation & How To Make Small Talk, And Keep It Going.
Holding a conversation can cause a ton of social anxiety — especially with new people. Sometimes, we feel like we don’t know what to say next, or we run out of things to say at all. Starting one is hard enough, but knowing how to keep a conversation going can be even more stressful. There’s an art form to it, something we’ll explore more. But, first, get to know these tips so you know how to hold a conversation and network with style.
- Make A Great First Impression — We subconsciously size people up within seconds. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward with your style, body language, and demeanor. This will help them know if they even want to engage in a conversation with you.
- Dial In Your Talk to Listen Ratio — Talk less, listen more. This is hard for me because I have a tendency to ramble. Giving them more ownership of the speaking part of the conversation will make them feel appreciated and enjoy the conversation more.
- Ask Questions — They don’t need to be wildly profound. Asking questions keeps the conversation moving forward. It also shows genuine interest in what they have to say.
- Listen to Understand — Often times, we listen to respond. We hear something that reminds us of a story or an opinion, and we can’t wait for the other person to stop talking so we can share what we have to say. Fight this urge. Instead, seek to understand their perspective or point of view. Ask clarifying questions. This is especially important in business or sales conversations.
- Smile — Smiling is contagious. The positivity and enthusiasm you share will transfer into the conversation. It’s amazing how the subtle power of the conversation changes the energy of the interaction.
- Be Enthusiastic — Show your interest in the conversation and your enjoyment of their company. People like to be liked. I know how good it makes me feel when someone is genuinely interested in me and happy to be talking with me.
- Know When & How To Exit — All conversations must come to an end. If the other person is dropping cues that they need to move on, respect that. If they begin to back away, or say things that imply an exit is near, use this as an opportunity to share how great it was talking with them. Don’t try to force the conversation any longer — that will just make them feel uncomfortable.
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