Whether you’re speed-dating, networking, or simply socializing, knowing how to start an engaging chat is a must.
But it’s not always easy. What if you and your conversation partner seem to have nothing in common? What if there’s an awkward pause? What if you accidentally insult the person?Read on to impress new acquaintances with your masterful conversation skills.
1. Demonstrate interest in your conversation partner
Тhe best way to keep a conversation rolling is to show you care about what the other person has to say. If you don’t fundamentally care about the person you are speaking with, that will show, and that may be the primary reason why you are running out of things to discuss. That also means letting your conversation partner share information about themselves. Let the other person speak more. People LOVE talking about themselves.
2. Ask open-ended questions
Instead of asking yes/no questions that lead to dead ends, encourage your conversation partner to share some more detail about his or her life. In general, open-ended questions lead to more conversational paths. For example, instead of asking a fellow party guest, “Are you here with your family?” you might ask, “How did you meet the host?”
3. Be honest
There’s nothing wrong with just saying, ‘You know, I hate small talk, so how about we talk about something big?’. Chances are, your conversation partner will feel somewhat relieved. Having a few “big” questions on hand can promote intimacy, including, “What’s something that scared you today?” and “Are you happy with your current lifestyle?”
4. Allow your conversation partner to teach you
If there’s a subject you’re not familiar with, just be honest with that person and nine out of ten times they’ll teach you about it. It goes back to that central idea of letting other people do most of the talking. Asking the other person to explain what they mean means they will be talking for at least another few minutes.
5. Practice the FOR technique
This special mnemonic can keep conversation flowing easily:
- F-amily: Do you have kids? Where is your family from? How long have you lived around here?
- O-ccupation: What do you do for a living? What is that like? How and when did you start your business/career?
- R-ecreation: What do you guys do for fun? What hobbies do you have? Where did you go for your last vacation?
6. Boost your conversation partner’s self-esteem
Flatter people in order to capture and hold their interest, but be honest and DON’T overdo it. Try to make everyone you talk with feel a little better about themselves after having met and talked to you.
7. Share stories
Don’t hesitate to let your conversation partner know that you can relate to what they are telling you. This forms a bond. For example, if your partner says they spent time living in another country and you did as well, share a story or two about your years abroad. You’ll likely prompt the other person to tell you about some similar memories.
8. Practice with everyone you meet
Whether it’s the doorman at work or a fellow passenger on the train, try your hand at small talk with everyone. Eventually, you’ll start feeling more comfortable striking up and maintaining interesting conversations.
Souce : BusinessInsider