How to have a great conversation. Tips for parties.
Conversation can be a tricky thing. A great conversation leaves you feeling refreshed, stimulated, and even peaceful. A run of the mill conversation leaves you feeling like, why am I even here? A bad conversation experience can leave you drained, frustrated, and possibly a little angry. So, what makes the difference, specifically, in a good or bad conversation? Listening skills. Yes, believe it or not listening is not only half of any conversation; it is what both parties really want, to be heard. That being said, here is a list of tips to follow for a great conversation.
1. Make eye contact. At least 75 percent of the time you should be looking directly at the person you are talking to. Smile.
2. Ask questions and only one at a time. This shows that you are interested in the other person. If you ask multiple questions at once, you are leading the conversation instead of letting it grow naturally based on the person's responses.
3. LISTEN for the answer. Allow the person to respond and digest what they are saying. If you are only thinking of your next comment, you will miss what was just said and end up asking repetitive questions, making it obvious that you weren't listening.
3. Wait for a pause in their speech to begin talking about yourself or asking more questions. This should happen naturally after a few sentences. If it doesn't, you know that you are not talking to an experienced conversationalist.
4. Do not interrupt, interject, or talk over a person. Do not finish other people’s sentences. All of these actions are rude and callous to the other person's feelings. If you don’t want to listen, why did you ask?
5. Try to avoid talking about the weather for too long. Find a common thread that you both can enjoy. Do you have similar jobs, hobbies or recreational activities? Do you have family, church, or volunteer activities in common?
6. Do not use more than one pronoun in a sentence. Pronouns are words like he, she, we, they, them, and so on. For instance, "We went to her house and saw them and it was so fun the last time we all went there together." These kinds of sentences drive the listener crazy. Basic sentence construction demands you answer the questions who, what, when, where, and why. Don't assume that everyone knows what you mean. You should say, “Shirley and I went to Becky's house and saw the kids from school, and it was so fun the last time we were all at Becky's together." This makes you easy to understand, and therefore easy to talk to.
7. Don't hog all of one person's time. Wrap up a conversation after five to ten minutes to allow the other person a break to visit with others. At social events feel free to move around the room and strike up new conversations. If you only know one or two people at an event this is a great time to meet lots of new people. That way at the next event you will have plenty of friends to talk to!