How To Have A Great Conversation
The art of conversation has very little to do with talking. It is more concerned about listening as well listing. In other words, conversation is all about understanding what your partner is trying to say and convey to you. It just requires a little knowledge, practice and patience to converse effectively with anyone. Conversations give you an excellent opportunity to learn from the speakers. They often lead to personal stories and anecdotes. These topics often result in limitless conversation and reveal about the character of a person. Following are some tips that could prove beneficial for a good, meaningful and entertaining conversation. Read on and know how to have a great conversation.
Having A Good Conversation
As said, first impression is the last impression. Listen well, smile and ask questions that probe answers, more than just a yes or no. Be friendly, speak politely and maintain good eye contact.
Listening to the speaker forms the most significant part of any conversation. Make the right movements and noises to specify that you are listening and very much involved in the conversation.
Other Person’s Interest
Study and research on some significant points about the person with whom you would be conversing, in advance. Do not hesitate to compliment him/her as it can prove to be beneficial in terms of beginning a talk. Compliments can prove to be ice-breakers.
Prepare some questions in advance. Observe people carefully and put in more questions. Be sure to ask them politely and do not sound like a stalker. Space out your questions well; else, they will feel that you are interrogating them and this can result in closed off relationships.
Get yourself interested in people, rather than convincing them to get interested in you. Do not think too much about yourself and what the person might be thinking about you. Simply relax, give your introduction, shake hands and focus on the conversation.
Practice Active Listening Skills
When you listen, make sure that the person also knows that you are listening. For this, you need to build good eye contact and make comments wherever required. You can use phrases like ‘yes’, ‘I see’, ‘that’s interesting’, etc to tell them that you are involved in the conversation and are not diverted.
Ask Clarifying Questions
If you find the topic of the conversation is interesting and appealing, put forward questions to clarify about their thinking and feeling. Take interest in knowing about the person and his/ her hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc.
Use Your Words To Paraphrase Back What You Have Heard
Conversation happens in a process wherein each person is given a chance to listen and then speak up or respond. Use significant points from other people’s talk in your speech, to let them know that you had been actually listening. This will help you better your understanding and affirm it.
Judge Your Response Before Disagreeing
Do not disagree on a point merely to set apart yourself. At the same time, do not end up agreeing on everything as well. You find a person interesting only when he/ she is a bit like you and a bit different from you.
Do Not Panic Over Lulls
When a particular topic has taken exit, use the time gap to think over and introduce a new topic or put in a question based on the previous conversation.
Know When The Conversation Is Over
Every conversation has an end to it. Remember to smile while leaving and end on a positive note, to leave a good impression on the other person. Mention that you would be delighted to talk to them over time.
How to Have a Casual Conversation with Anybody
«Make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely,» wrote Dale Carnegie in his book «How to Win Friends and Influence People.» Most people have to learn how to be a conversationalist, while it seems to flow naturally for others. Watching the news and political pundits is a good way to learn what not to do: interrupt, dominate the conversation and fail to listen. Talk-show hosts, on the other hand, ask questions and draw out the person being spoken with.
Stand up, if possible, and introduce yourself and smile. Gestures like these indicate you are accessible, and conversation will flow more easily.
Remember the person’s name. Repeating their name back to them by saying, “Nice to meet you, John,” will help seal it in your mind for later.
Use open-ended questions. Avoid questions with a one-word answer to get the conversation started. Instead of asking “Did you enjoy the cheese platter?” ask the person what she thinks about the latest interesting article in the local paper.
Stay away from questions that are too deep or too personal. The conversation should remain light, and refrain from delving into awkward territory. Light doesn’t mean talking about the weather. Have an arsenal of topics ready for such occasions, such as a current art gallery opening or the new coffee shop in town are topics you can use depending on the type of crowd and situation.
Listen to the other person. People love to talk about themselves. If you ask a question such as “What do you do for a living?” pay attention, and fight the urge to compare yourself to them by interrupting with a long-winded story about the one time you did something vaguely similar.
Avoid asking questions that are likely to end with your foot in your mouth. These are things like “When are you due?” or “How old are you?” When dealing with people who ask these questions, squelch the rudeness with “Wouldn’t you like to know,” or “I’ll forgive you for asking if you forgive me for not answering.”
Rein in the humor. One man’s joke can turn into another man’s boredom. Subjects you may find hilarious may be quite offensive to others, so fight the urge to tell jokes concerning politics, race, religion and sex. When you are around those making jokes, don’t take yourself too seriously.
Say the person’s name. At the end of the conversation, be sure to say the person’s name that you have just met. This shows that you were paying attention.
Sincere flattery is a good tool when used properly. Giving a compliment in all sincerity has a way of bringing people out of their shell. Go ahead and say that her necklace is lovely or that his tie is a great color; just be real. Compliments are all in the delivery.
How To Have A Better Conversation | Collective Hub
Conversing, networking and building rapport is at the core of both business and life success: being able to converse freely, confidently and, in most cases, briefly, signals to those around you that you’re clever, in control and self-assured. And, most importantly, that you care about other people.
Writer and radio host Celeste Headlee argues that due to the increasing use of ‘within reach’ technology, we’re losing our ability to converse face-to-face and that opens a whole other can of worms for modern conversation. We often use conversation as a platform for our own thoughts and feelings, rather than a place of discussion and understanding.
Here are her 10 rules to having a better conversation.
The most fundamental concept of all good conversations (and life in general) is the ability to listen. It’s the hardest thing to do but it’s the most important.
“When I’m talking, I’m in control. I don’t have to hear anything I’m not interested in. I’m the centre of attention. I can bolster my own identity,” Celeste says of our obsession with talking instead of listening.
“Buddha said, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘If your mouth is open, you’re not learning.’”
You are listening to understand, not just reply, and it’s something that’s often, but should never be forgotten.
2. Don’t multitask
We all know that doing something else, anything else, while someone is trying to have a conversation with us can be infuriating: think of how you feel when someone is scrolling mindlessly while you try and tell them about your day. But Celeste says it’s more than just giving them your attention.
“Be present. Be in that moment,” Celeste explains. “Don’t think about your argument you had with your boss. Don’t think about what you’re going to have for dinner. If you want to get out of the conversation, get out of the conversation but don’t be half in it and half out of it.”
3. Don’t pontificate
A classic mistake that anyone on the receiving end despises. Does anyone want to be preached to without the possibility of coming to a healthy mid-point of ideas?
You’re not having a conversation if you’re just talking at someone.
“If you want to state your opinion without any opportunity for response or argument or pushback or growth, write a blog,” Celeste agrees. “You need to enter every conversation assuming that you have something to learn… sometimes that means setting aside your personal opinion.”
4. Use open-ended questions
“If you put in a complicated question, you’re going to get a simple answer out,” Celeste explains. “Let them describe it. They’re the ones that know. Try asking them things like, ‘What was that like?’ ‘How did that feel?’ Because then they might have to stop for a moment and think about it, and you’re going to get a much more interesting response.”
5. Go with the flow
Almost everyone is guilty of this speaking sin: someone will be talking, you’ll come up with a great idea or story and interject or, in some cases, wait impatiently until the person finishes the sentence and jump in.
“We’re sitting there having a conversation with someone, and then we remember that time that we met Hugh Jackman in a coffee shop. And we stop listening,” she says. “Thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind.”
Interjection is fine – if it helps reinforce a point for the person talking, if it’s short and it doesn’t derail the thought process of the speaker but don’t forget to give someone else the space to tell a story. That’s called listening.
6. If you don’t know, say you don’t know
There’s nothing worse than being caught out in a lie and admitting that you don’t know something doesn’t make you look dumb – it makes you look honest. As the old adage goes, honesty is always the best policy and it should always be that way for conversations.
“Err on the side of caution,” says Celeste. “Talk should not be cheap.”
7. Don’t equate your experience with theirs
We may have gone through similar things to our colleagues or friends but as different as we are as people, that’s how different things can affect us.
“If they’re talking about the trouble they’re having at work, don’t tell them about how much you hate your job,” Celeste says. “It’s not the same. It is never the same. All experiences are individual. And more importantly, it is not about you. Conversations are not a promotional opportunity.”
8. “Try not to repeat yourself”
Put simply: it’s boring. And it makes your listener feels as though you’re self-centred enough to forget that you’ve told them before. Many times.
“Especially in work conversations or in conversations with our kids, we have a point to make, so we just keep rephrasing it over and over,” Celeste points out.
9. Stay out of the weeds
“Frankly, people don’t care about the years, the names, the dates, all those details that you’re struggling to come up with in your mind,” Celeste says. “They don’t care. What they care about is you.”
Peppering your conversation with details is fine but only if it benefits your listener, not your own peace of mind.
10. Be brief
This one speaks for itself. No one likes people who tie others up in conversational knots for hours. We don’t like being talked at, or made to feel as though we could be anyone, just being a silent ear.
Celeste quotes her sister on the subject: ‘A good conversation is like a miniskirt; short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject.’
How to Have a Professional Conversation – Dear Design Student
I’m looking for work and instead of a real interview I was offered an “informational interview.” Should I go? How do I prepare for it? Do you have any tips? Strangely I’m nervous even though it’s not even for a real job.
You should go to any interview that you are invited to, because it’s one of the best ways to learn how to have a professional conversation with someone you don’t know. Pretty soon you’ll find out that every interview is a conversation, and every conversation is an interview.
The purpose of any introductory professional conversation is to find the overlap between what someone else wants and what you want. Right now what you want may be limited to a job or a project but once you’re past that, you’re going to be in a lot of situations where you can see how working together with someone is going to work out well for both of you. When, how, or whether you act on that is usually determined by other factors, but if you don’t know how to find that overlap, you’ll miss the opportunity.
If you reach out to work with me, either as a teacher, designer, or client, and you seem like the kind of person I’d want to work with but there’s no immediate need, I will often ask to meet anyway. Why? I want to know what you’re all about, meaning I want to know what motivates you, what you want. In risking my hour — which is worth a lot — I potentially have a lot to gain. I may be looking for someone, or know someone looking for someone, in the coming months, and meeting with you now means being able to pull you in right away instead of mounting a full-on search exactly when I have no time for it. More than that, though, it’s a chance for me to learn about what’s going on out there. I’m not interested in the specific information: I’m looking for patterns across several of these conversations. If you’re new to the field, what are you excited about? What are you anxious about? I don’t know you, so maybe you’ll say something I haven’t considered. And maybe I arranged the meeting thinking you may be a good match for something I know I’ll be looking for soon, but over the course of our time together it turns out you’re a perfect fit for something else.
You have a lot to gain from an informational interview, too. Since you don’t have to spend the time proving your qualifications for a specific job description, you have at least fifteen minutes to ask pretty much anything about design, business, or your future. Instead of meowing on and on about how you really wish you had a mentor, use these moments to get your bearings. Dear successful person I reached out to, what do you look for in a portfolio? Do you think I should pursue work in this area, or is there something else I’m not thinking about? Do you like what you do, and would you recommend it? If I want to eventually do X, do you think it would be better for me to do Y or Z? This is your chance. Don’t blow it.
Now that we have all that out of the way, some tips for your visit:
Ask who you are meeting, and find out who they are. Read until you find out where the individual you’re talking to came from, what their company or practice is about, what the public has to say about them. What’s going on in their industry? What do they hope for? What do they worry about? You don’t need dissertation-level research on any of this, but you should know at least as much as someone who reads the newspaper every day would know. For that matter, if you want to be able to talk to anyone, read the newspaper every day.
Don’t make someone crazy before you even meet. If someone asks you if you can meet Thursday at 3pm, do not under any circumstances reply “I’m busy Thursday,” and hit send. It’s your job to make it easy by suggesting alternatives after the time they proposed: “Unfortunately I have a conflict Thursday. Could we please meet the same time Friday or Monday?” After you agree on a time, confirm the meeting by sending a calendar invitation, and confirm it again by email the morning of or the night before. If you’re not sure if you should bring your portfolio, ask. Your interviewer committed a half hour or hour of their time, not that plus an additional two hours to schedule the meeting.
Do not send them a LinkedIn invitation. Or friend them on Facebook. Or dump hearts on their Twitter feed. Please.
Know what you want. Maybe what you want is help figuring out what you want. That’s okay, too. But if what you want is freelance work, a full-time job, a side gig, a teaching gig, your own company, a hobby, or a way into a particular sector, figure that out ahead of time, and say so when asked. So many times I’ll talk to people who are so focused on looking like they’ve got it together that they’ll forget to say what they want.
Wasting someone’s time is a cardinal sin. Being late is out of the question: it means starting with an apology or a commuting story. If you’re meeting at another location, like a coffee shop, go ten minutes early, so that you’re already sitting with your coffee instead of spending ten minutes in awkward conversation in line. If you’re meeting at their office, don’t be more than five minutes early. When you see your interviewer, be the first to say hello and smile and extend your hand, and start by thanking them for their time. Bring a printed copy of your resume and hand it to your interviewer. It’ll help that person remember who you are and what your name is, especially if this is their fourth meeting of the day. Don’t bring a pop-up business card, or a DVD with your name scrawled on it, or a thumb drive for any reason.
If they invited you, let the other person lead. But don’t be a dishrag. If you were showing someone your apartment, you wouldn’t just stand there and stare. You’d ask some questions about what they would like to see, and then take it from there. In each room, you would gauge how long they want to be there, and then look for cues for when it’s time to lead them into the next space. So for an informational interview, after greetings are exchanged, ask them: would you like to see some of my work? Would you like to go through it or would you like me to go through it? Where would you like to start? As you’re talking, check for cues. Is your interviewer getting restless? At what point does their attention flag? What questions are they asking as you go? These are all good things to pick up for the next time.
Ask questions that uncover overlaps. This is where your research comes in. Maybe you suspect a similar feeling towards something, or a similar outlook. Maybe you see a need that you can fulfill. Asking about these things is how you discover if you were right or not. If you find the overlap, you’ll spend the majority of the time talking about it, and not about you. And focus on the overlaps: you’re not looking for a soulmate. The rest of them can be different, and not intersect with you at all. Besides, you already know what you think.
Be interested. And if you are interested, look interested. Nothing is more stifling than a person who has zero curiosity. Young people tend to show no affect when listening or speaking, habitually looking as neutral or nonplussed as much as possible. Older people tend to interpret this as disinterest or disgust. If something interests you, make eye contact, gesture, nod, or use words to show you’re interested. At the very least, remind yourself that you like this person because they are taking the time to meet with you. They may as well have handed you a hundred-dollar bill.
Look for cues that the meeting is over. Looking at a watch or phone, summarizing the points of the meeting, telling you about a subsequent meeting, telling you that time’s up, and standing up are all ways for someone to say that the meeting is over. This is when you thank the person for their time with you, and for what they’ve shared with you.
Send a follow-up thank you note. Do this as you would for any other interview, no more than 24 hours afterward, and in email. Recap the meeting, restating what you want and what you can offer. If you would like to work with this person in the future, say so. If they said something great, quote them. In that next moment of connection, if there is one, they’re going to type your name into their email search field, and this is the note that you want to come up, not the one that says “late 5min sorry.”
A lot of this applies to regular one-on-one interviews as well, but a formal job interview often involves multiple people, making it a more challenging topic for another time. You’re actually as likely to trip into one of these conversations as you are to schedule one, whether at a holiday party or brunch for your boyfriend’s boss’s wife’s birthday. My life is full of these conversations, though now they are about more than just design: everything from real estate to raising kids to being involved in your community means having grown-up conversations that uncover mutual interests. Thankfully, there are a lot of great people out in the world, and you can learn a lot from them. If you also learn how to find what you’re both interested in or how you can help each other, you can do a lot together.
How to have a great conversation
Sometimes communicating with teenagers can be tricky. The following tips might help you to keep the channels of communication open with your child:
- Make time and space to talk, get comfy, remove distractions such as phones, and have eye contact. These all signal that you are present, you want to listen, and you are ‘there for them’.
- You don’t need to fix their problem or make them feel better; you just need to listen. Try not to judge what they are saying. Just nod and say things like, ‘Ok’, ‘Ah ha’, ‘Yeah’. This will let them know that you’re listening positively and will encourage them to keep talking.
- Be empathetic.
- Talk often.
Make time and space to talk
Here are some conversation starters for teens:
- ‘Is there something that you’d like some help with?’
- ‘Ok, I’m here for you, what’s up?’
- If you have an inkling what they want to talk about, introduce the topic like this,’I’ve noticed you seem a bit stressed, is there something worrying you?’
You don’t need to fix their problem
Help your child come to a solution by themselves
We all sometimes just need to ‘vent’, get stuff off our chests, whinge, complain, or let our family know we’ve had a bad day. We don’t need anyone to give us a solution or to ‘fix’ a problem; we just need someone to remind us that we are loved and supported. Your child needs the same opportunity; they may feel alone, frustrated, overwhelmed or upset, and they just need to feel loved and supported.
If you feel the urge to suggest a solution, to give them a lecture, or to try and solve their problem for them, try saying instead:
- ‘That sounds tough, do you want help to find a solution or do you just need to get it off your chest?’
- ‘How did that make you feel?’
- ‘And then what happened?’
Allowing your child to talk through problems will give them an opportunity to use you as a sounding board. Unless they ask for your advice, encourage them to work through the problem themselves. This will help them take responsibility for their actions.
Learning how to talk so teens will listen starts with demonstrating empathy where you are able to put yourself in your child’s position and understand the situation from their point of view. Your child will keep coming to you to help them work through problems, and to talk about things, if you make it clear that you are on their side, even when they’ve made a mistake. You can do this by saying things like:
- ‘I can see why you’re so (frustrated, sad, annoyed).’
- ‘How did you feel about that? Yeah I think I would have felt like that too.’
- ‘Why do you think (the other person) did/said that?’
Take the opportunity to really check in with your child every day about the little things that are going on in their life. By remaining positively engaged in their life, it will be easier to have difficult conversations when the need arises. If your child can trust you to ‘be there for them’, to listen to, love and support them, then they are much more likely to see you as someone to turn to first when they need help in working through bigger problems. Your relationship will be built on trust and open, honest communication. Enjoy getting to know your child as the interesting and maturing person they are becoming
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How to Have a Hard Conversation in Seven Steps
They’re not always easy, but the hardest conversations can actually strengthen your most cherished relationships. «It’s a communication between two people or a group of people who have an important relationship,» Oprah’s Lifeclass teacher Iyanla Vanzant says. «It has to be an important relationship where some information needs to be shared, clarity needs to be gained or feelings need to be expressed.»
Because it’s not a hard conversation unless the relationship matters, Iyanla says many people—especially women—tend to avoid tough talks because they fear negative outcomes. It’s time to let that go. Here’s how to start a conversation that will advance, heal and grow your most cherished relationships in seven steps.
1. Acknowledge the fact that you need to have a hard conversation.
2. Clarify your expectations. Be clear with yourself about what your experience should be—and the intention should not be to get your point across or declare who is right. «It’s not to have your toxic dump,» Iyanla says. «It is to heal, grow or expand the relationship.»
3. Invite the other person to have a conversation with you. «Say, ‘There are some things going on I want to share with you. I’d like to have this conversation,'» Iyanla says. «If they say no, don’t take it personally. Say, ‘Can I check back with you in a week? When will you be ready? Because this is important.'»
4. Set the ground rules—especially if you think there’s potential for upset. «Say, ‘I want to share something with you. I ask you to just listen, and then if you want to respond, I’ll listen,'» Iyanla says. «Let’s not call names, let’s not swear, throw things, whatever. No name-calling, whatever your ground rules might be.»
5. You have to be willing to listen. One of the biggest mistakes Iyanla says you can make is rehearsing the conversation in your head before and bringing preconceptions with you. Instead, get on the same side of the table as the other person and just sit with them. Hear what they need to say and be willing to say what you need to.
6. Be willing to be wrong. «Be willing to be wrong about what you thought they would say, what you thought they would do, how you thought they would respond, what you thought was going on,» Iyanla says.
7. Agree on the next step. «At the end of the conversation, be sure you have the next steps for how you’re going to behave, what the expectation is, what the next step will be, what you’re expecting,» she says. «Don’t just leave a conversation without clarity about ‘okay, now what are we doing?'»
Join Iyanla on a journey of Forgiveness in her life changing online course. In this custom on-demand course you can take all six lessons at your own pace, anytime.Sign Up now.
How to Have a Conversation With God
During my first careers as teacher, recruiter and consultant, if someone had said, “You’re going to write a spiritual book,” I’d have burst out laughing. Little did I know that my invitation from Spirit was coming. It came in the form of a brutal divorce.
One morning, out of sheer desperation, I scribbled “Dear God,” across the top of a journal page. As I made the comma, a torrent of angry, frightened words piled up inside my pen. My story poured itself onto page after page. Venting felt good, so the next day, I wrote another diatribe to “Dear God.” After several days of barking at God, I wrote a question—a question I didn’t even know was inside me: “How did this happen? What have I been unwilling to see?” With these questions my monologue ended and a divine dialogue began.
For three years, I wrote to Dear God every day. I noticed something. If I asked for guidance, guidance came. If I asked for insight, insight came. When I asked for comfort, I was comforted. When I asked for protection, my son and I were safe. When I needed financial help, it came. I talked with Dear God about everything in my life—big and small.
Does that sound miraculous? It is. It’s miraculous how soul writing activates the Voice of Spirit. But it’s a miracle you can do. Here’s how.
Set your intention to connect with Spirit. Write by hand. (The computer keeps you in conscious mind and you want to get out of your stress-filled conscious mind.) Write directly to Spirit using your favorite name. Speak from the heart. Write fast. Writing fast gets you out of the way so Spirit can break through. Ask questions. Open-ended questions are the magic that activates the Voice. As your conversation for the day ends, say thank you. Be grateful for the experience.
New soul writers always ask me: Am I talking to God or to myself? Eyebrows sometimes scrunch when they hear my answer: The Voice is that which is inside you that is greater than you. But, they press, is that Spirit? Yes, I smile, it’s Spirit. It is the limitless source of wisdom, creativity, guidance and grace. But, please understand, it is also you. The Voice is Spirit in you.
That answer provokes my favorite question: How will I recognize the Voice? I love this question because it gives me the opportunity to watch people’s faces as they hear the sweet sound of the Voice, perhaps for the first time.
I recognize the Voice on my own pages when a new thought, idea or question I haven’t considered tumbles out or when the pen gleefully flies over the paper. Other soul writers see shifts in their handwriting, feel tingles in their hands or a sensation of warmth in their heart. But we all agree on one thing: The Voice is unmistakable because it speaks its own language—the language of unconditional love.
Let me give you one example. Jody, a 36-year-old woman in Florida, was with her mother every day of a nine-year struggle with cancer. Jody said they were more than mother and daughter; they were best friends and soul mates. When her mother died, Jody felt lost. She came to my workshop hoping to find some peace. In her very first 10-minute writing experience, the Voice burst through her confusion and tears to say in distinctive capital letters, “I AM UNBREAKABLY YOURS.” After everyone left, Jody showed me the page. In tears, she said, “This is the Voice, isn’t it?” “Oh yes,” I sighed, “this is the unmistakable sound of the Voice of Love.”
Would you like to hear that sweet Voice of Love? Pick up a pen and say, “I’m here.” The Voice will find you. “Hello beloved,” it will say. Welcome to the conversation that never ends—it just goes deeper and deeper to your whole, authentic, holy self. “I’m so glad you’re here. Let’s talk.”