5 rules not be that person everybody avoids!
Photo by Juri Gianfrancesco on Unsplash
Conversational competence is the most important skill you can have, and the most overlooked too; unfortunately, not many people are capable of holding a coherent and engaging conversation nowadays, without becoming boring or getting bored, and without offending anyone or getting into an argument!
Being able to hold a good conversation is what helps you in a job interview, to get that dream position, in a meeting, to get your ideas clearly across, and in your personal life, to ensure you get invited (again) to dinners and parties; your interpersonal skills are far more crucial than you might think.
I was watching a very interesting TedTalk by Celeste Headlee, a radio host who has made her living talking to all kinds of people, and she has pinpointed the main ingredients of a great conversation. So, do not worry if you feel you’re not a born story-teller or not outgoing and witty enough for small-talk; you can have great conversations by following these five simple rules I selected for you:
Be curious about other people; you will be amazed at how much you can learn in a conversation if you are open and willing to set aside your personal opinions. Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.
The art of communication is a skill of elegance. Not matter whether you’re in a job interview or a social event, let the person you’re talking to feel you’re present. This means, look at her, pay attention, don’t look around trying to see who else is at the party and don't think about the things you have to do tomorrow while having a conversation, and for God’s sake, leave your cell phone in your pocket! In other words, don’t multitask; it is rude.
Avoid yes/no questions and answers
Use open-cue questions so that you get a more elaborate, and undoubtedly much more exciting and personal answer. For example, if you ask “did you enjoy your last trip”, the answer will be yes or no, but asking “how was the trip?” or “what did you like best in your trip?”, you will be able to have a more engaging conversation and make a real connection.
Go straight to the point
Somebody said that a good conversation was like a mini-skirt; long enough to cover what matters but short enough to keep the interest. Don’t get into too many details; people are not interested in numbers and data, they are interested in the story you have to tell, in what you think, what you like, what you’ve experienced.
This may be the most important rule for a good conversation: listen. And do not listen with the intent to reply, listen with the intent to understand. A conversation requires a healthy balance between talking and listening. Otherwise, it becomes a monologue, and you, the bore of the party. Don’t be that person.