4 min read…
Some people are skilled conversationalists, and I’m not one. At times, I cringe when I have to meet new people. It’s not because I dislike or intend to disrespect anyone, but because I am bad with conversations.
I have friends who can talk to anyone they meet and within minutes, find a common interest. I wonder, what techniques they use that are not so obvious to me.
Recently, Scott Adams, through his book How to Fail at Almost Anything and Still Win Big, taught me something valuable. He says, ‘having a conversation’ and ‘talking’ are two different things. For the sake of this post, let’s call them conversationalists and talkers.
So, how to find which one you are?
A talker will always focus on the poor parts of the above list, doing a lot of bragging and complaining. My friends can vouch for me when I say I am more of a talker. I think I often like to talk about myself, or at least engage only in conversations in which I assume I have an upper hand or advanced knowledge.
Simply put, I refuse to go out of my comfort zone and learn something new. But, there’s good news. ‘Conversation’ is a learnable skill, the benefits of which are larger than what you can imagine.
The magic formula is laughably simple and 100% effective:
TIP #1: All you do is introduce yourself and ask questions until you find a point of mutual interest.
The 6 questions that work wonders:
- What’s your name?
- Where do you live?
- Do you have a family?
- What do you do for a living?
- Do you have any hobbies/sports?
- Do you have vacation plans?
You might be thinking some of these questions are too personal to ask in the first meeting. I felt the same. But, understand that the person you meet will be every bit as awkward as you.
TIP #2: Remember that everyone wants to talk about something interesting and sound knowledgeable. Your job is to make it easy.
Nothing is easier than talking about one’s self. Most of the general public love talking about themselves. When you ask a stranger a personal question, you make that person happy. Your question relieves the stress of awkward silence and gets the conversation going.
It is also signal that you are interested in them, even if you’re faking it. Fake it until you make it. Fake it until you become it.
So, here’s the summary of a good conversation technique:
- Ask questions.
- Don’t complain or brag.
- Don’t dominate, let others talk.
- Don’t get stuck on a topic. Keep moving.
- Keep the sad stories short, especially medical stories.
The point of a good conversation is to make the other person feel good. If you do that one simple thing correctly, everything will follow. Start by smiling and keeping your body language open. Ask questions and show interest when they talk, looking for common interests.
We hope you liked this blog. What is your ONE takeaway?
– Kavi & Ninja
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