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Ever found yourself dreading going to a social event? Is the prospect of having to make small talk with someone or generally interact with people making you rethink your Friday night plans? Then this is the article for you.
How To Keep A Conversation Going
In this article, we will be covering a variety of ways for someone feeling awkward and uncomfortable at a social gathering to develop communication skills. There will also be sections covering how to speak to someone you are attracted to so that when you find the right moment, you seize the day without hesitation.
Here are a few tricks on how to keep up a conversation that will surely bring you better results and do wonders to soothe your social anxieties:
Reading Body Language
Non-verbal cues can be instrumental in indicating the intentions and moods of the person(s) you are speaking to (and remember, it goes the other way too).
Body language refers to the non-verbal indications that may give insight into what is being said without using words, phrases, or sentences.
Keep in mind:
Most of communication is non-verbal, if you can send friendly signals with your body you open up the other person as they don't perceive you as a threat. This may sound a bit primitive, but that's how our subconscious works.
The best part about this trick is that chances are you already do read body language every day!
If a person is feeling sad or drained, you may have noticed their posture is slumped, or their heads are hanging low. Similarly, if a person is feeling excited, they will most likely walk confidently and gleefully.
This is probably one of the most straightforward techniques to practice, although not all settings may be ideal for this.
Mirroring is the practice of mimicking the other party's communication, both verbally and non-verbally.
As an example of verbal mimicking, if person A were to say, "My dog got sick " then person B would say, "got sick?" This technique comes highly recommended in marketing and business environments during negotiations, as it helps to extract more information from the other person, as well as build rapport (because it shows you are listening and engaged).
You only need to repeat the last 2 to 3 words from sentences that make sense to do so. Every-time someone makes a blank statement, you can use this trick to have them go more in depth on the topic.
And mimicking the body language is simple, if someone crosses their leg, you cross your legs.
The secret here is:
By mirroring the people you talk with, their subconscious will perceive you as a friend.
This trick essentially calls for repeating something person A has said in your own words to reiterate that you have understood what they meant. This skill can be developed in part by summarizing your thoughts regarding the topic in question comprehensively.
This can help you send very strong "friendly signals" for the same reason as mirroring words. It makes the speaker feel good that someone is not only hearing them, but understanding and possibly relating to it.
For example, if someone has just explained something, you would follow up with a statement opening with "so are you saying that …?" This trick can also be quite useful in a variety of professional fields, such as sales, marketing, etc.
A very effective scenario is when someone is complaining about something and feeling like they are doing all the work, you can just say "people don't know how hard it is...".
And here is tip:
If the person you are speaking says something in the lines of "That's right" after you paraphrased them, you will know you hit the nail in the head. Because they are basically agreeing with themselves.
As a child, many of us grew up listening to stories that kept our attention for extended periods. As adults, this feature has not changed either, although areas of interest are likely to morph into others.
If you wish to hold people's concentration, you must tell stories. Sure, some stories may be annoying for some people, but you may never know what works for some people until and unless you try it out yourself.
Some tips on telling stories:
Use visual queues. Instead of “I got to work late” say “I had to rush to work, got there 30 minutes late”.
Use emotional queues. Instead of “I didn’t like what he said” say “What he said made me feel so uncomfortable”.
Use pauses and emphasis. Instead of “Inside the box there was only a donut” say “Inside that box…[short pause]...there was ONLY a donut!”
These skills take time to develop, but the more you practice the more natural it will come to you.
Writing helps to stretch the storyteller muscle, give it a try!
How To Keep A Conversation Going Over Text
Because we live in a digital world, most conversations now happen over social media or text messages. Hence, it is equally important (if not more) to be able to communicate effectively over text while maintaining a positive outlook.
Yes, And …
This technique comes from improvisational comedy or "improv" comedy for short, and mainly demands that to every scenario or situation presented to someone, they are required to respond only with "yes, and …" and continue to add to the scene on the spot.
You may ask why a stage skill is being suggested for everyday conversations, but you will be surprised to find out just how well this works. We say no quite a lot to situations and opportunities every day, which may be one of the reasons for unsatisfactory conversations. Just try and see for yourself. Say yes, and…!
How To Keep A Conversation Going With A Girl Or A Guy
For most folks, this can be quite the nerve-wracking experience. Whether you are a man, woman, or identify yourself otherwise, you may find it hard to speak to someone whom you are attracted to. So here are a few helpful tips to get you started on your love journey.
Getting To Know Them – Asking Questions That Require Descriptive Answers
At first, if you are too nervous about speaking for an extended time, ask open-ended questions from the person you wish to or have to talk with.
For example, on a date, you may ask them "how was your day?", "what do you think of this movie?" or "tell me about the craziest thing you have ever done." This way, not only can you avoid speaking for a while, but you can also learn a lot about the other person.
This has a lot of benefits in a personal as well as a social capacity. Ideally, if you do this for the people you must interact with daily, you will find your confidence slowly growing as people engage with you.
In the case of a potential romantic partner, you may want to ask personal questions about their likes and dislikes in terms of food, music, travel, talents, and other aspirations to bring each other closer.
Additionally, it also makes you appear more considerate, which in many situations (especially this one) is quite helpful.
Finding Common Ground
If you want to feel more comfortable in public or social settings, a tried and tested rule is to discuss topics that interest you. You may want to ask yourself questions such as "what do I enjoy doing the most in my free time?" or "what was the last movie I saw that made me excited?"
As an example, an actual question you may ask someone is, "do you follow the show Money Heist? I started watching it a few days ago, and I like it so far." This opens up the opportunity for the other person(s) to connect with you on something and is thus an excellent way to diffuse the awkwardness.
One of the ways you can let your potential partner know that you are fully invested in the conversation at hand is by making eye contact throughout your time together. While at first, this may cause you nervous, it will eventually get better once you find yourself getting more comfortable being around them.
Making eye contact with regular intervals will also add mystique and sensual energy to your dynamic, ultimately making the conversation much more exciting and engaging.
On the other hand, do not stare too much at them at risk of making them feel uncomfortable or look at your phone – or other people – when you are out with your partner for too long. This may be read as uninterested or even rude in certain situations.
Who doesn't like to be told pleasant things about themselves? If you are looking to impress someone, one of the simplest and most delightful ways to go about it would be to say to them something you like and appreciate about them.
While your partner may like to hear you compliment their outfit or hairstyle, not all of them should be superficial. For example, you may say, "I admire your work ethic" or "I find your dedication to art quite attractive."
Compliments such as these will make your partner feel appreciated and respected, which are both excellent qualities to start your relationship.
If you are looking for a long-term partner, this is a crucial topic to discuss. Successful communication is essential to a healthy relationship, and being honest about the direction you wish your life to follow needs to be shared with potential partners.
Relationships can be tricky, especially if all parties want different things from life. So it is imperative to be on the same page and understand each other's need to chase their dreams and fulfill professional obligations.
Being A Good Listener
One of the best qualities in a person despite whatever situation they may be in is being a good listener. This means paying attention to what other people are saying and following up with statements such as "that sounds interesting, please continue/tell me more."
What this achieves is that it makes the other party feel essential in several ways. Firstly, they get the space to talk about something meaningful to them. And secondly, their response to you when you might do the same will also be enthusiastic.
The best tool in your toolbox for sustained conversation is being blunt. True, there is always the risk that whatever you say may not be perceived in the light you wanted it to be. But the best conversations are those where all involved parties are candid and blunt with each other.
The #nofilter feature is essential not just for being able to hold a conversation, but also to build a long-lasting rapport with the people you are speaking to. Hence, it is no surprise that some of the best relationships are those in which everyone is honest (brutally at times) with each other.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine!
This might not be the most important one, but it sure is the icing on the cake. Making your partner laugh does not require you to be a comic. All you need to do is connect with them and share stories that made you laugh (see the tip titled storytelling).
Chances are if you found something that tickled your funny bone, it will do the same for your partner, especially if you have already established a comfortable and frank dynamic with them.
However, if you are still working on telling stories well, you can simply share a picture or video via social media that made you laugh. This way, you are creating a fun-loving and light-hearted space for your partner and yourself to feel safe in.
Acknowledge Your Mistakes
No human being is perfect. Sometimes one may say or do something that can cause hurt or offense either knowingly or unknowingly.
If this happens, apologize and reflect on your behavior. Even if your intent was not to do so, actions have consequences. And for a healthy relationship, each party must take responsibility for theirs.
Do not make the mistake of smoothing over the issue by avoiding it or not talking about it enough that the other party is not satisfied. Make it a habit to own up to your mistakes as it is the best approach to take in all situations, especially the ones that have hurt or caused offense more seriously than others.
With these techniques, you can go from being the wallflower to a social butterfly in no time! Whether you find speaking to people in person or on text from personal to professional atmospheres, these neat tricks will help you navigate all such spaces with relative ease.
Remember also to trust your gut and be yourself as much as you can because growing comfortable in your skin will boost your confidence in the best possible way. This will inevitably translate into your body language and conversations in all sorts of spaces, with all kinds of people.
However, if you are struggling with anxious thoughts quite frequently, and if the prospect of speaking to people stresses you out a lot, consider seeking professional help from a therapist.
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