Do you want to have a good conversation? Is there someone you want to talk to, but you don’t know how to proceed? Today, I’m going to share some of my conversation tips with my readers.
Note: These tips are all based on my experiences. I am not an expert and I cannot not guarantee a good conversation.
Finding a connection (This applies for people you’ve never spoken to)
Often, when I attend big events, parties, or weddings, I tend to meet a lot of new people. If I happen to see someone I don’t know standing and/or sitting alone, I may go up to them and initiate a conversation.
First, I will smile and say, “Hi!” And wait for a response. If the person says hi back but quickly looks down or away, I just move on.
There’s no point in talking to someone who doesn’t want to talk to you.
However, if the person smiles back and makes eye contact with me, that is an indication he/she may be open to having a conversation.
If I choose to proceed, I will ask, “How do you know _______?” (Usually, I’m talking about the host, the birthday boy/girl, or the bride/groom.)
Usually, the person will tell me and then ask, “How about you?”
Personally, I find that finding a connection between me and the person is one of the easiest ways to start a conversation.
Asking the right questions (This applies in general)
In my opinion, “How are you?” is one of the worse questions you can ask. The reason is because most people will tell you they are fine regardless of whether they are fine or not. Most people do not want to go into details, so oftentimes you’re left with, “Fine, what about you?” or “I’ve been ok, you?”
It’s an useless question.
Instead, try to ask questions that require thought and detail. For example,
“What is the biggest highlight of your summer so far?”
“What is the craziest thing you’ve done this year?”
If you want to carry on the conversation, you have to get some information out of the person to work with.
If the person you are talking to constantly gives you one word answers, he/she probably doesn’t want to talk to you.
Paying attention (This applies in general)
If you really want to talk to someone, you have to make the person feel like you actually care. This means putting him/her as a priority instead of your phone.
Look at the person when you are talking to each other. Show positive behaviour such as smiling and leaning in a bit. Ask questions to elaborate the conversation.
If you are constantly looking at your phone, you are implying you prefer the phone over the person.
Pay attention to their body language as well. If he/she is shifting away, that is a bad sign. He/she is very uncomfortable.
If you’re in an awkward conversation and you just want to get out of there, simply excuse yourself nicely. Here are a few lines I typically use.
“I’m going to get more food. I’ll see you around!” (I will then head for more food, haha)
If you still want to keep trying, but need a break, you can say,
“I am going to get more food. Would you like something? I’ll be back.” (Haha, so smooth, right?)
“Please excuse me, I have to make a phone call. It was great meeting you.” (Normally, I do not use this unless I am really going to make a phone call. But it’s a good way to get out of an uncomfortable situation.)
Complimenting (This applies in general)
Another way to start a conversation is by complimenting. Find something you like about the person and tell him/her. For example,
“I like your shoes! The colour is awesome. Where did you buy it?”
Note: Only say something if you mean it. People can tell if you’re being genuine or not.
That is it for now! Do you have any helpful tips? Please share!
P.S. Previously, I have written a post on communication. You can check it out here.