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How to conversate | conversation skills

Updated on June 22, 2010

How many times have you heard people saying that in order to carry out a great conversation you need to be charismatic, have a good sense of humor and so forth? Well, I have heard this a lot but you know what? I do not believe in those fairy tales. Of course, I'm not saying that those qualities are worthless. No. I'm just saying that those are not the vital ones. So I compiled a list of skills which are really necessary to learn in order to master the art of conversation.

1 Learn to listen

The fundamental concept that you must understand is that in order to become a great conversationalist you must first become a good listener. Let the other person do most of the talking. People love talking and being listened to. This gives them a feeling of importance which is what every person craves for. Ok, so you're asking: how do I actually become a great listener? Here's several tips:

  • Use 60/40 rule. This means listen 60% of the time and talk only 40% of the time.
  • Be absorbed by the subject. I personally try to visualize things a speaker says in my mind. For instance, if he talks about famous places he has visited, imagine yourself in his place as he goes over all the details. I find it really helps me to chase away any irrelevant thoughts and stay focused on the subject.

2 Show your interest

 This is another important step to learn. No conversation is possible if the other person feels that you're not interested in what he has to say. This will simply cause tension between you two and the conversation will cease. Here's how to avoid it:

  • Slightly lean towards the speaker. Be careful, not to overdo it. You do not want to scare him off.

  •  Keep an eye contact. Either talking or listening, look the other person in the eyes. Otherwise, he might suspect you of dishonesty or a lack of interest. Don't stare, though.
  • Slightly nod once in a while. By nodding from time to time you simply show your agreement and encourage the other person to keep on talking.
  • Smile. Gentle smile always helps to create warm and receptive atmosphere and once again shows your interest in a speaker.
  •  Ask. Avoid questions which have only "yes" or "no" responses. Those will not help to keep a conversation flowing. Instead, begin your questions with "why", "how", "what" etc. Those type of questions require broad answer and this is exactly what you want, right?

3 Be patient

 Do not interrupt a speaker. Even if you disagree with him, wait until he's done talking, wait for a second, to make sure that he's nothing left to add and only then express your point of view.

4 Stay in control of your emotions

 Avoid yelling, screaming, cursing or any other inappropriate behavior which might cause you or the other person feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

 5 Never ever criticize

 Always put up with a speaker's opinion. Cut the words like "what a nonsense", "can't be", "bullshit" out of your vocabulary. Even if the other person is obviously wrong, it is better to start with something like "I might be wrong, but..." or "Please correct me if I'm wrong but I think...". In this way you will not only show that you appreciate the other person's opinion but will also be able to gently express your own without any resentment from a speaker.

6 Imagine yourself in the other person's shoes

Try to see everything through a speaker's eyes. If you feel like yelling at your child, for example, before doing that, ask yourself: If I were in his position, would I like him to scream at me now? This helps you to understand a speaker's needs and emotions and to undertake measures to make him feel comfortable.


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    • profile image

      Andy. 5 years ago

      You could learn to converse not conversate, conversate is incorrect.

    • Chaotic Chica profile image

      Chaotic Chica 7 years ago

      Good tips! Two thumbs up!