Tips and Template on how to keep a conversation going - NewBalancejobs
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Tips and Template on how to keep a conversation going

How to keep a conversation going – One of the biggest problems you may encounter when trying to make new friends is the awkward silence.  Facing this situation is so uncomfortable that it can force you to avoid meeting new people in the first place, but there is a way around it.  Not knowing how to keep the conversation going can harm your social life, but if you know how to keep those words flowing, you can meet, talk, and get to know pretty much anyone you love – creating wonderful possibilities for friendship and fun sharing activities that you would otherwise miss.

  It doesn’t matter if you talk to your loved ones, friends, colleagues, or even random people you meet in life.  The enjoyable discussion naturally twists from topic to topic with a sprinkle of humor here and there and maybe even a dash of intrigue to spice things up a bit (if that feels right!).

How do you keep a conversation flowing?

  Getting into a conversation is one thing.  There are socially acceptable scripts you can follow: You can ask how much they like the weather, how they know the host, or what they’re doing for fun.  But once you get into a conversation, how do you maintain it?  This is where it gets more complicated.  This post explains some expert tips and tricks on how to keep a conversation going and to help you the next time you encounter an awkward silence in the middle of a conversation.

  While, in the grand scheme of things, these moments don’t mean much of anything (and your conversation partner probably feels just as awkward as you do, if he even cares at all), no one wants to have boring conversations.  After all, being an effective communicator that can keep the energy going is a valuable skill that you should have as a professional.

  Fortunately, there are simple conversational techniques you can use to keep the other person engaged, interested, and willing to talk.  All it takes is to build a relationship, gain comfort, and maintain trust.


Tips on how to keep a conversation going

·         Ask open-ended questions

  This is simple advice, but it is easy to take.  Ask questions of the person you are talking to – especially open-ended questions.  This forces them to open up and talk to you – and research shows that people like to talk about themselves, anyway.  Just make sure you don’t ask for anything personal or special right away, and stay away from irrelevant topics like politics and religion when you meet someone for the first time in particular.  Stick to general questions about their work and interests instead.

·         Talk about any known or acquired common interests

  Once you get to know the person a little more, especially when you start to ask him questions, chances are you will recognize a common interest.  Say, for example, you are both traveling.  You can ask them more about their travels, tell them you are a great traveler, too, and be open to some of your travel stories.  You may find that you’ve taken some of the same trips and have a lot more to talk about than you thought.

·         Show interest

  Using body language is one of the most effective ways to show interest in someone.  Body language is about what you don’t do as much as it is about what you do.  For example, smiling, nodding, and maintaining a comfortable amount of eye contact indicates interest in the speaker and shows that you are listening.  Can you think of anything that would send the opposite message?  You might have spoken to people who were constantly checking their watches or phones.  Maybe they felt bored, impulsive, or simply didn’t have much interest in a conversation.

  If you need your cell phone to be on during a business event, put it on vibrate mode.  If you receive an important call, allow yourself to check it, and then return to continue the conversation when you can give it your full attention.

·         Find common ground

  Once the conversation begins, listen carefully to what you and the others have in common.  Similar beliefs, experiences, or interests create bonds that can be the basis of a new relationship.  If the speaker doesn’t mention any similarities on his own, take the initiative to ask a few questions.  Of course, some questions will encourage more engagement than others so let’s talk about the best questions to get to know someone.

Templates on how to keep a conversation going

·         Tell me more about…

  Tell me more about how this works.  Tell me more about your thinking there.  You mentioned [insert project / challenge / idea] – tell me more about how to approach that.  This line shows that you are interested in more than compliments and shows your curiosity in getting to know others.  Plus, you can use it for almost everyone – whether or not you really know what they’re doing.

·         What’s the best part about…?

  What is the best part of your role?  What’s your favorite part of what you do?  What shines you in your work?  This is a personal favorite, as it really adds color when in a situation that may be dry and gray.  Asking this question takes people to their sweet spot – the place where they feel the flow of things and the place where they are at their best.  And who does not like to go there?

·         How did you get in…?

  People love stories.  People have stories.  People love to tell their stories.  Asking someone how they got into their field of work, how they became interested in their subject area, or how they shaped their role, would unlock all kinds of stories and points of discussion.  And even if you get the classic “I kind of stumbled into it”, you can then ask which area they’ve always wanted to work in.  It’s a goldmine for conversations.

·         What is your biggest challenge?

  There is no business on this planet that does not meet its challenges.  New competitors, digital consolidation, hiring the best people, or any of the other factors are the challenges that businesses need to deal with.  Asking about someone’s biggest challenge not only does add some serious elements to the conversation dish, but it may only help frame things or bring a new insight into the mind of the person you are talking to.

·         What is your favorite…?

  A question like this might result in a story about a lovely meal in Europe, it might turn into a discussion about what the king of cheese is, or it might get into a conversation about a local farmer’s market.


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