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Conversation Skills

Updated on December 3, 2012

Do you have good conversation skills?

Every day there is a new opportunity to make a good impression. The way a person talks in a conversation and how they present themselves can make or break a first impression.

Conversation is a skill that requires a continual effort to improve. Having good conversation skills can help you to reach your goals; whether the goal is to advance in a career, or to improve your love life.

Discover what works best for you, what needs improvement, and what can get you results!


Important Tools to a Great Conversation

It all begins with a positive attitude

Projecting a positive attitude will bring the horse to water. Nothing else is more important than a positive outlook in life. An unhappy person only has conversations with other unhappy people. Misery loves company.

Don't be fake. Know what you are talking about and believe in what you are saying. Be honest in your feelings on the subject. People can tell when you are being fake. They lose interest in what you have to say and will move on to other conversations quicker than you can say gobbledygook!

Show enthusiasm. When you get excited about the conversation, others will too.

Talk about other's interests. If you are always talking about yourself, people get bored in a conversation and you come off arrogant. Ask good questions! (scroll down to find a few)

Most important: Listen!


What are your hands saying?

Your hands can do most of the talking

Most of us emphasize what we say in conversations by gesturing with our hands. Often, what our hands are saying is completely different than what our mouth is speaking.

Pacifying gestures Self-touching, signals insecurity

Emblematic gestures Culturally specific signs--such as the thumbs-up or hand rocking for "so-so"--are used like words, but watch out for different meanings abroad

Finger pointing or wagging shows you're pulling rank (but may be losing control)

Open, angled palms Suggests candor and openness--literally having nothing to hide

Palms up With fingers spread, the gesture indicates you're making a request

Clenched hands Suggests anger, frustration or, on the upside, resolve

Hands on hips Communicates defiance, intransigence and independence

Palms down Signals power or certainty, or the intent to control the audience

Hidden hands Hands behind the back makes you less trustworthy

Steepling gesture Hands together show you know this subject inside and out

Over the shoulder Waving, cheering and other arm moves show enthusiasm, but can make you look erratic

Vertical palms Indicates precise measurement or timing, like a visual period or comma

"What your hands say" by Michael McCullough

Do you talk with your hands?

You want to improve your conversation skills to....

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Avoid the Filler Words

It's hard to follow

If you want to improve your speaking skills, you should begin with your filler words. Filler words are words that don't add anything to the conversation, but fill in the space. Like, Um, Ah, Okay, Uh, are examples of a few filler words.

First, it takes time and practice. It's been said that in order to break a bad habit it takes 21 days. So be patient with it and practice in all your conversations.

Don't get nervous. Nerves tend to bring out the filler words the most. Calm down, breath in and out. It's just a conversation.

Know what you are talking about. If you know what you are saying and have a confidence about the topic, then you are a lot less likely to use the words that make you seem nervous and unintelligent.

Take your time. Pause when you would normally use a filler word.

Be aware of your habits.

Do you say "like" or "um" to fill your sentences?

Do you have a hard time coming up with questions to ask?

See results

Join the Conversation - I'd love to here what you have to say

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    • profile image

      GetSillyProduct 7 years ago

      great lens, conversation is a slowing vanishing part of our lives these days

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      I really like the interactivity on this page on conversation. Great tips. Featured on my Lost Art of Conversation page.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 7 years ago

      Great job Tiffany - blessed by a Culture & Society Angel today.

    • profile image

      alyssa87 7 years ago

      nice lens, hope to see more from you on this topic :)

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for this great lens. I'll be back again!

    • auntjennie profile image

      Jen 7 years ago from Canada

      I realized a couple of years back I was guilty of fiddling with my hair continually. I try to be concious of it now.