The art of conversation is a necessary skill for almost everything in life. While many people think that conversation and building a social circle is hard, yet is easy if you remember some simple guidelines.
If you do, you will never be lost for words again and can approach any social situation with confidence.
Everybody’s at one time or another has found themselves trapped in this sort of situation and for many, it makes them nervous shy and uncomfortable.
The moment when you want to introduce yourself to people, employers, employees, partners or friends, you are faced with another human being and wanting more than anything to break the silence which makes both you and the person you are with feel awkward.
So how do you do it? Master these “talking rules” to get (and keep) a conversation going.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
If you ever are being sold something by a good salesman, they always want to keep the conversation going and they will never ever ask a say no question i.e. one where you can say no to their product or service. For example, you won’t hear them say:
Do you want to buy this item?
You can say no of course and that makes the selling harder for them. They will probably phrase the question like:
What do you think about this item?
Now, of course, they can say “nothing” but it is highly unlikely. They will say they like this or they like that or vice versa. This allows the salesman to keep the conversation flowing and get a sale.
They are asking questions that will open up their prospect and while you are not in a selling situation your aim is the same. So in a social situation how does it work?
Say you’re at a dinner with a woman you like. You would start a conversation by saying “this steak tastes good”. You could add and something else into the question to get a response. For example:
“This steak tastes good. It reminds me of a restaurant I used to eat, but not as good as that. Where do you like to eat?”
You force her to take your cue and if there is a silence she will be glad you did, as she may be just as nervous as you. A silence between two people indicates that neither has the art of conversation so she will be relieved if you try and talk to her first.
Let’s take another example. You want to complement a woman on her dress. You can’t say “I like your dress”, as you will probably get a polite “thank you” and nothing more.
Instead, say something like:
“I really like your dress. Where did you get it from?”
This forces her to say something more than a quick closed response that leads nowhere.
Once you have an answer, you have loads of options to continue the conversation:
“Where’s that?”, “my sister shops there”, “I Really like classic styles, did you see it on TV”, etc.
Your aim is to get the dialogue flowing.
A relaxed person is a friendly person and this immediately puts people at ease. Be polite, non-confrontational and smile a lot, everyone responds to a friendly person. Don’t be too serious, as this will make them see you as a “serial killer” or a man who never smiles. When you’re at ease makes them feel at ease too.
Take Cues From where You Are
When you are really stuck, talk about the place you are in or the environment in general.
So say something like:
“Do you know this DJ?”, or “This place has a lot of people”, or “What do you think of the décor this place has?” etc.
Don’t just say that you like it but ask them what they think and get them responding. This will keep the conversation going.
Use topical subjects
Again if you are stuck for an opener think of something in the news that’s topical and ask them their opinion.
Don’t use controversial subjects that might offend, there are plenty of topical subjects to discuss which they will probably know something about and will get them involved.
The key is to get them to talk to you, and once this is done the conversation will generally flow. Keep in mind that if there is a silence, then they probably feel as awkward as you do.
When you master the art of conversation, people will be glad of talking with you.