Hate Awkward Silences? 10 Essential Tips To Be a Great Conversationalist

From Personal Excellence:

Given that conversing skills is a must-have in today’s world, there aren’t any “tricks” or shady techniques you have to apply to be a great conversationalist. Below are ten timeless rules:

Be genuinely interested in the person. Who is this person? What’s on his/her mind? What does he/she enjoy doing? What motivates him/her in life? These are the questions I have for every single person I meet. Since people make up my life purpose (to help others achieve their highest potential and live their best lives), my genuine interest in people, from who they are to what they do, comes naturally.

Such genuine interest, not an artificial one, is essential to making a conversation fly. Even if you execute rules #2 through #10 of being a great conversationalist to a tee, the conversation will still fall flat because there is no driving force behind the exchange.

Focus on the positives. Go for the positive topics. Which means rather than talk about past grievances, opt for a discussion of future goals. Rather than talk about the coffee that spilled on your table this morning, talk about that movie you are looking forward to watch later in the evening. It’s okay to talk about “negative” topics (read: topics that trigger negative emotions) once in a while, but only when you feel it is okay with the other party and when it has a specific purpose (e.g., to get to know the other person better or to bond with the person).
During your conversations, always adopt a forward-thinking mentality. Less complaining, more solutions. Less judging, more empathy. Doing more of the latter will make you a more enjoyable person to speak to. Doing the former will turn you into an energy vampire.

Converse, not debate (or argue). A conversation should be a platform where opinions are aired, not a battle ground to pit one’s stance against another. Be ready to chat, discuss, and trash out ideas, but do so amiably. There’s no need to have a conclusion or agreement point in every discussion; if a convergence has to be met with everything that is mooted, the conversation would be very draining. Allow for things to be left open-ended if a common point can’t be achieved.

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