How to be better at conversation when you’re not used to it
If you’re wondering how to improve your conversation skills, keep reading, as you’re in the right place.
Communication difficulties, conflicts, tensions, and quarrels are frequently caused by people’s own unresolved problems and internal tensions. It’s widely acknowledged that those who are unable to cope with themselves also find it difficult to communicate with others.
For example, conflicts are one of the most common causes of workplace stress. Confronting a boss or manager is especially stressful. Doing your job well isn’t enough if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. Instead, it’s necessary to deal with the communication problems that may arise.
Before we dive into learning some great tips about building conversation skills, let’s talk about what you need to know about conversations.
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What you need to know about good conversation skills
Communication can be learned
Understanding is the first step toward taking action. We frequently lose orientation and don’t understand what’s going on in complex relationship situations. It’s especially difficult when we’re motivated by our emotions.
In many cases, knowing communication principles and being able to analyze and make sense of complex situations is beneficial. Yes, communication skills can be learned.
Communication skills, in addition to characteristics such as openness, flexibility, and empathy, can be developed through specific techniques. You can, for example, successfully learn to compliment or express yourself intelligibly.
Every situation and person is clearly different from the last
A good communicator is one who responds appropriately to the situation. If you don’t consider the context, the situation may lead to inappropriate, even tactless behavior.
The emotional tone and often the content of our communication are determined by whether we communicate in a normal work situation, at an international meeting, or at a festive event.
Before communicating, you should assess the situation and consider how to communicate with the other party in the most effective way.
Interacting with older people and people with long-term work experience, for example, necessitates a slightly different approach.
We cannot expect an older person to learn new things in the same way that a young person does. Long-serving team members are also frequently criticized for being unable to keep up with change.
The key word here is well-thought-out communication that takes people’s needs and specifics into account. The toolbox of a good communicator contains a variety of behaviors. A bad communicator always acts the same way with everyone.
There is no single communication model that can be applied to all people and situations. However, it’s possible to learn how to make eye contact, express yourself clearly, and persuade the other party.
Don’t underestimate the development of communication skills because it’s possible to change people’s behavior and attitudes by acting wisely, thereby laying the groundwork for better cooperation.
Although your personality traits remain largely unchanged, everyone can still consciously choose how they behave in a situation. If you’re unsure and don’t know how to become more social, I’ll give you some pointers.
Let’s talk about how to build conversation skills with ease
1. Don’t boast too much
Try not to brag about how good, beautiful, or successful you are. Don’t only talk about work when you talk to other people. Because work takes up so much of our time, it’s difficult not to talk about it, but it’s always more engaging for others to talk about something other than work.
For example, if you have a hobby, you can always chat about it or a recent event that has happened. You can also talk about the movies or television shows you’re watching.
Be true to yourself. Always attempt to be yourself when communicating with others, because it’s better to be liked just the way you are than the way you pretend to be. Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re insecure.
People are aware that, no matter how great you appear to be, everyone has flaws. It demonstrates that you’re still a human being. Accept your mistakes when it comes to things that haven’t worked out. If you constantly praise yourself, you won’t leave a good impression of yourself.
While it’s necessary to be self-aware during a crucial or stressful conversation, one of the most effective communication tactics is to simply relax and act normally—while remaining professional, of course.
Make sure you get enough rest. Communication necessitates a lot of focus, but getting adequate sleep at night might help you pay attention better.
3. Maintain a cheerful tone in your communication
How to get better at conversation? Always keep the tone positive. If you spend your entire lunch break talking about how your car broke down, the other person won’t get a positive emotion from your chat.
If unpleasant topics have arisen during the conversation, always close the conversation with a good topic. It can simply be a simple, pleasant message, such as a compliment. What your interlocutor remembers the most is the final thing you say.
Don’t be too pessimistic. At the first meeting, don’t focus on how hard it is for you or how horrible everything is. Don’t even bring up a time when you didn’t enjoy something.
Excessive pessimism drives people away from you. Even if you’re in a foul mood, try to appear as upbeat as possible if you want to get along with others. However, maintain a good attitude without going overboard.
4. Learn how to express interest in the other party
If you want to be a good talker, keep in mind that people always want to talk about themselves. So you should be able to play a role in which you show genuine interest in them.
Display your enthusiasm. This is the crucial point that many people overlook. For example, if you see someone after they have taken some kind of test, ask how they did. If you know that someone was on vacation, ask about their experience. If someone’s child was or is ill, ask how their child is doing.
5. Recognize when a person is feeling uncomfortable
We all know what it’s like to feel uncomfortable in a conversation, so we can recognize it in others. Try to avoid making other people feel uncomfortable. Learn new things rather than generalize.
By generalizing and criticizing things, we can often cause so much harm (and discomfort) to the other party.
6. Create an excellent first impression
Creating an excellent first impression is a great tip if you want to know how to improve your conversation skills.
One simple tip that I personally love: raise your eyebrows gently if you are about 4-5 meters away from the person you are approaching at the first meeting.
It makes you feel friendlier and more open. This tip, according to body language experts, is especially useful for introverts who “petrify” in such situations.
Practice making a friendly face in front of a mirror so you don’t make strange expressions when meeting new people.
Stretch your hand firmly to shake the person’s hand when you’ve reached a radius of about two meters. It can be awkward and embarrassing to be unsure whether or not to shake hands, but if you already take charge, every polite person will respond to it, which will help reduce your insecurity.
7. Watch the body language
Keep an eye on your partner’s body language: are they fidgeting or standing still? Smiling or yawning?
Pay attention to your body language as well; if your words exude confidence but your body language exudes anxiety, your partner will pick up on it. It’s crucial to interpret other people’s body language and be aware of your own.
Also, use your body language. Make eye contact, smile, stand or sit in an open position (for example, hands on the side, not crossed on the chest) and show that you are listening, for example, by nodding.
Body language has a significant impact on future communication, and it’s dependent on what kind of impression we leave on the other person.
8. Learn to listen
Active listening is the foundation of all excellent communication: you can’t reply effectively if you’re not paying attention to what others are saying.
Concentrate on what your partner is saying and repeat it to yourself (in your head of course) if required to ensure that you understand what they’re saying.
Pay more attention to other people. People appreciate being heard. Instead of immediately thinking about what you want to say after the other person has finished speaking, try to focus on what the other person is saying.
If you want to be a successful communicator, one of the most crucial abilities you have to have is the ability to listen to others. Listening to others causes others to listen to and think about you as well.
9. Allow yourself to be taught
It’s one of the great ways to get better conversation skills. No one likes a know-it-all who doesn’t allow themselves to be taught. If someone mentions something that you find confusing at first, ask them to go over the details with you. This way, you can benefit from their knowledge.
10. Make the other party feel better
When you’re talking, try to make a positive impact on your partner because that’s why they may still want to talk to you sometime later. Show compassion and support.
Instead of laughing at another person’s problems, empathize with them and try to understand them. When someone tells you about something they did, sincerely congratulate and praise them.
Try to understand them if they talk about something they don’t like. Also, be delighted if someone tells you about an extraordinary experience they witnessed.
11. Look at how others communicate in different contexts
It’s crucial to know who you’re talking to. When making a presentation at work, observe how others handle the situation (or watch videos of famous lectures by academics, businesspeople, or professionals in your field).
If you’re unsure how to act at a social networking event or party, ask those around you for advice.
12. Read the news
Yes, reading the news will teach you how to develop a conversation. If you want to be a good interlocutor, you should also be aware of how your conversation may develop at times.
It’s highly recommended that you keep up with the news on a daily basis so that you can discuss current events.
13. Avoid any disagreements as much as possible
Don’t go out of your way to find disagreements and impose your viewpoint on people. People value those who share their perspectives, so don’t look for reasons to differ unless the issue is truly important to you. Even then, strive to do it in a gentle and nice manner.
Understand how to relax. There’s no point in getting worked up during a conversation if you don’t agree with the other person’s arguments. Think about what you say beforehand. Words often have more power than you realize. You may, however, mistakenly offend the other party.
14. Make some new friends
Making new friends and striking up a conversation with strangers comes naturally to extroverts, but if this is a source of anxiety for you, make it a weekly goal to make contact with one stranger. Making friends allows you to learn from the experience while also teaching you a lot about yourself.
If you don’t believe you need these new contacts, think about this: people with a larger circle of friends have better health, enjoy the good times more, and find it easier to cope with difficult times. After all, an introvert is also a social being who requires interaction with others.
15. Find the best way to frame your story
It’s critical to figure out how to structure a lecture or a humorous story to make it fascinating and engaging, whether you’re giving a lecture to a large audience or sharing a hilarious story with a friend.
Determine the catch (What makes your story interesting? Why should anyone else be interested in it?). It’s critical to know where your story is headed from the start. Express your thoughts in a simple way.
16. Look for common ground
How to improve your conversation skills? Always try to look for common ground. People associate with others who are similar to them, have similar hobbies, or hold similar viewpoints.
Try to find something in common with people you don’t know or encounter for the first time: interests, movies, books, opinions, music, fashion, vacations, or whatever else.
17. Ask open-ended questions
By asking “if” questions, you’re consciously putting an end to the conversation. If you ask open-ended questions throughout the conversation, you’ll give the other party the confidence to tell the entire story in detail.
You can always begin a conversation by asking a simple question. Where a person is from, what their specialty is, what university they attended, and so on. Although these questions may appear insignificant, they are necessary because they seek to identify similarities between two people.
The conversation can easily progress based on the similarities. If you notice that a person is more open to a particular topic, expand on it and try to get them to talk for more than a minute. Asking questions indicates that you want to talk with that person.
18. Don’t be afraid of silence
It’s natural for a conversation to come to an end at times, so don’t get worked up about it. Taking natural breaks is also an excellent strategy to avoid interfering with someone’s thought process.
So, if you’re here and wondering how to develop conversation skills, keep in mind that silence isn’t always a bad thing.
19. Follow good communicators
Observing people with good stage skills will also help you if you want to become a good communicator yourself. There are tons of videos on YouTube for that (I really love watching TedTalks for that).
20. Communicate with your coworkers
In the workplace, many people are exceedingly reserved. One day a week, set aside five minutes to engage in a bit more social engagement.
When you and a colleague have developed a bit more of a friendly relationship, invite them to lunch with you. You’ll never know when a good friendship might develop out of this.
21. Put your phone away
Putting your phone away plays a huge part in knowing how to conversate better. When you’re chatting with someone else, always put your phone in your pocket or purse.
At the very least, turn the phone upside down while you’re at the table. Looking at your phone, which is difficult to avoid when it’s so close, indicates that you aren’t truly listening to another person and that your thoughts are diverted.
22. Keep communication balanced
Whether you’re naturally quiet or outspoken, think about who spoke more during the conversation. You talked too much if the other party was mostly silent. So, try to also pay attention to the other party in the future.
For instance, if they claim to have done anything over the weekend, ask about it. Try to ask a question regarding everything they say. This gives them the impression that you are truly interested in them and their narrative.
However, if you tend to be quiet, strive to be more focused in the future. Speak with a slightly louder voice than usual and enhance your talk with lengthy answers.
But try not to talk too much. You may enjoy talking a lot, but others do as well. Try to keep your verbal flow under control. Even if they appear to enjoy your story at the time, people immediately detect when the balance is off somewhere, and they don’t feel good about it.
How to improve your conversation skills and really succeed at it
That’s it for today’s post. Are you a good communicator? Do you have any additional tips on how to be a better communicator? Let me know in the comments below!
I’m a personal growth and self-care expert, as well as an avid motorcycle enthusiast and coffee and sweets lover. Through Lauraconteuse, I provide insightful and practical advice on topics such as self-care, self-love, personal growth, and productivity, drawing from my very own extensive experience and knowledge in the field. My blog has helped countless people achieve their goals and live more fulfilling lives, and my goal is to continue to inspire and empower others.