A positive conversation with people you meet at all walks of life is the most important skill one must possess.
Knowing how to have a conversation will not only help build good friendship and personal relationships but also at business and social level.
I must admit though that only few have mastered this art and I am not one of them. However, it is not too difficult to learn.
Introverts are most likely to find it challenging to even start a small talk. However, most introverts will agree with me that once they get going, they just love deep conversation once they find the right person.
However, we may not always have to interact with people of our choice. In a business setup, you are always introduced to people with whom you never worked before. You just can’t give an excuse that you are an introvert or shy. You got to talk.
How do you initiate small talks ?
Well ! Most people would have figured out what the weather is like and topic of weather does not necessarily make a good subject for lengthy discussion unless you live in Britain.
Getting to know each other, past work, hobbies and interests or sports is a good way to start a conversation.
Topics I would avoid is religion, politics or anything negative that would spark a debate.
A compliment would do no harm. It need not necessarily be about looks. Any personal achievement at work or at personal level will ensure people want to talk to you more.
It is perfectly fine if others brag about their achievements. Every human loves to do that. You will have your turn too.
The only reason people start liking you is if you are willing to give them a ear for what they want to share with you.
The golden rule I follow is – ‘If you don’t have anything positive to say, silence is the best option.’
Nobody ever wins an argument. Disagreement is fine. It can be done politely without offending the other person. Even if there is a disagreement, always end the conversation on a positive note. Also, check with the person the next day that s/he is fine with you and not upset about anything you discussed.
A common mistake people make is not reciprocating or showing lack of interest. Nobody is boring. People are different. We all have something unique to share.
Another mistake is when there are a group of more then 3 people and only 2 of them are talking while others stare at their face is a strict no-no for me. In the past, I would just say ‘Excuse me’ and walk off. Now, I am a bit patient to hear people even if it has got nothing to do with me. A common topic where everyone in the group can contribute is ideal.
From being a shy, introverted personality, with practice I started initiating conversation with people at unexpected places like hospitals.
Empathy is a great trait to have. Showing genuine concern to people you meet will only give you peace of mind. What you give is what you get in return.
If someone shares his/her struggles, don’t just say ‘Oh!. It means nothing. Try to find out how they are coping with the challenge and if possible follow up later as to how they are doing.
Life is all about having meaningful relationships.
For majority of us, our life partner is the most important person who deserves utmost attention. But we forget that there are others who need your time too.
At work though, conversations can sometimes heat up. It is best to have a cool head and a problem solving approach rather than making it a witch hunting exercise.
The most important thing about conversation is not just what you speak, but how you speak too and how we speak to each other makes or breaks any relationship.
If you wish to learn how to speak to others, best is to visit a therapist.
Of all the professionals I have met in my life, therapists know best – the art of meaningful conversation.
Why do people feel good with therapists ?
Because they have mastered the art of conversation as they know how to listen.