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How to Carry a Conversation — the Art of Making Connections

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What makes a good conversation?

10 tips to succeed at conversation

What about online conversations?

How does the art of conversation help you in the workplace?

What about introverts or people who are shy?

Know how to carry a conversation for good connections

As the saying goes, no man (or person) is an island.

Just as we need social connections in our personal lives, we also need to have good relations with our peers at work.

Networking is an important part of career development. Plus, having friends at work is important for your social well-being.

But for some of us, that’s easier said than done.

It can be intimidating to start speaking to someone new. Never mind making friends with them.

A simple “Hello” is easy enough to make first contact. But then you need to know how to keep a conversation going.

To help you build those important connections, here’s how to carry a conversation like a pro.

What makes a good conversation?

A great conversation is made up of several factors. Here are some of those aspects which can keep those awkward silences at bay.

1. Active listening

Active listening is a type of listening where the focus is on really paying attention while the other person is speaking. Sometimes people listen to respond rather than listening to what their conversation partner is saying.

This important listening skill lets your conversation partner know that you are paying attention. It is a sign of emotional intelligence. Plus, you’re more likely to remember more of the conversation afterward.

You can improve your active listening by repeating what you have just heard back to the speaker. And by talking less and listening more.

2. Asking and answering questions

Another way of showing that you are a good listener is to ask questions.

Follow-up questions related to what the other person said can expand the conversation. Or you can ask them about something you didn’t completely understand or are interested in learning more about.

Again, this shows the person you are talking to that you are truly interested in what they have to say.

3. Finding mutual interests and similarities

While having a conversation, keep your ears open for experiences that you have in common. Mutual interests can give you something to talk about and will keep the conversation flowing naturally.

Finding similarities will also help establish common ground and make for a more rewarding conversation. This is a key factor in how to keep a conversation going smoothly.

4. Having an intention for the conversation

Whether you’ve bumped into a coworker at the store or you’re having a conversation at a networking event, it is always good to have a goal in mind for the conversation.

Having a clear intention ensures the conversation has direction and isn’t uncomfortable or awkward.

If you find that the conversation is stalling, you can use your goal of the conversation to introduce a fresh conversation topic.

10 tips to succeed at conversation

Still unsure how to carry a conversation? Here are some tips to succeed as a conversationalist in professional and personal settings.

1. Ask lots of questions

Asking questions shows that you are interested and paying attention.

Just be sure to allow the other person to answer and take the lead. You don’t want them to feel interrogated.

2. Avoid controversial topics

Always be aware of the situation and who you are talking to. Avoid topics that could be considered controversial or insensitive. This can be anything from politics, to religion, to the agenda of the last PTA meeting.

3. Smile

Smiling is particularly important when starting a conversation.

Smile at your prospective conversation partner before either of you starts talking. This will show that you are approachable and friendly.

4. Make eye contact

Making good eye contact shows them that you are interested and engaged in the conversation.

If you keep looking around, it tells the other person that you are either disinterested in what they are saying or distracted.

5. Give compliments

Giving a compliment is an act of kindness that never goes unnoticed. Complimenting your conversation partner will make them feel better about themselves. It will also enrich your conversation.

Pay attention to what they are saying so you can find opportunities to compliment them genuinely.

6. Ask for advice or recommendations

If you’re not sure how to keep a conversation going, ask for advice or recommendations. This shows that you are actively listening and that you value their input.

7. Don’t come on too strong

Pay attention to the flow of the conversation and provide ample opportunity for your conversation partner to speak.

If you speak too much, you may come across as very intense or more interested in yourself than your conversation partner.

8. Maintain a positive attitude

By maintaining a positive attitude during a conversation, we show that we have self-control.

People are also more likely to want to have conversations with a positive person rather than someone who is negative or who complains a lot.

9. Use the FORD method

The FORD method describes an acronym that provides us with topics for a conversation. It stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams.

By remembering this acronym, you will always have at least four relatable conversation topics to talk about.

10. Prepare some topics beforehand

If you want to know how to carry a conversation with maximum success, prepare some talking points beforehand.

You can prepare topics for specific situations, such as conversations with coworkers, managers, or life-long friends. By preparing beforehand, you won’t get caught unaware with nothing to say.

What about online conversations?

In today’s online world, we could all use some guidelines for better digital communication.

So often, our meaning gets misconstrued or messages are misunderstood due to poor conversation and communication skills.

Prevent this from happening by doing the following:

1. Use the technology at your disposal

Make use of your technological options. Change the background of your emails or use emojis and gifs in your communications.

These will liven up your online communications and help you stand out from everyone else that is using the default settings.

2. Ensure there are no distractions

Just as you should pay attention when having a face-to-face conversation, so should you when engaging in online communications.

Focus on your communication. Don’t talk on your phone and type at the same time because your distraction will be evident to the recipient. When there are distractions around you, you are also more likely to make mistakes in the communication.

By eliminating any distractions, you can ensure that your communications are accurate and on point. Then you won’t have to spend time later clearing up misunderstandings and confusion.


Don’t waste people’s time

Make sure that there is a valid reason for your communication. If the issue or question can be resolved with a quick phone call, then do it that way.

Knowing what to call about and what to email about may take some practice. But the rewards to the quality and effectiveness of your working relationships will be well worth it.

4. Take notes

During particularly important real-time online communications, taking notes ensures that you don’t forget any crucial details after.

Taking notes will also mean that you won’t waste additional time by having to re-contact the people involved in the online meeting to get information that was presented.

5. Do an activity together online

With a large number of us working from home, we can often feel isolated and disconnected. We can help alleviate this by engaging in online activities.

Playing an online game or taking a virtual tour with friends or work colleagues will also help develop your relationships.

6. Don’t be afraid of small talk

Small talk is an important part of in-person conversations and should not be neglected when online.

If we just focus on business or the matter at hand when online, we lessen the quality of our communication by making it feel more impersonal than it needs to be.

7. Know when to end the conversation

Knowing when and how to end a conversation is another skill in the art of good communication. It applies to all conversations that we have, whether in-person or online. But ending online conversations can sometimes be a bit trickier.

During a video conversation, try to read the other person’s body language. Try to pick up on non-verbal cues that show it’s time to bring the conversation to an end. For example, they might be looking bored, or you may both be starting to repeat yourself.

Have some polite conversation closers on hand and practice them so that they flow naturally when the time is right.

How does the art of conversation help you in the workplace?

Striking up a good conversation with your colleagues goes beyond building workplace friendships. Here’s why mastering the art of conversation is so powerful in the workplace.

1. Conversations build our own power

The art of conversation contributes to different types of power in the workplace. Specifically, it helps you build referent power by building trust and respect with your colleagues.

Being a good conversationalist will also build your influence over those you communicate with.

Effective conversation is a big contributor to effective and inclusive leadership. Good conversation skills will help to communicate team goals and strategies better. This will develop greater trust with the people that you are communicating with.

If you know how to have a difficult conversation successfully, this will cement your reputation as a good leader.

2. Networking promotes career growth

Good conversation skills improve your networking. In turn, this will boost your social capital and promote your career growth.

While our qualifications will get us in the door, it is our ability to communicate and create a good impression that grows our careers.

3. Good work relationships boost employee satisfaction

Being able to carry a conversation is key to developing and maintaining good work relationships.

In turn, good work relationships create a sense of belonging and boost employee morale.

4. Quality conversations improve efficiency and productivity

Good conversation amongst colleagues contributes to good work relationships and employee satisfaction. These can also improve efficiency and productivity.

You might become better able to train and develop your colleagues too. With good conversation skills, on-the-job training will likely be better understood and take less time. This, in turn, should lead to improved efficiency and productivity as well.

What about introverts or people who are shy?

Being an introvert can make conversations challenging but certainly not impossible. Here are some helpful strategies to make it easier.

1. Prepare some conversation starters

Prepare and practice some conversation starters. By preparing beforehand, you can lessen the in-the-moment stress of starting a conversation.

2. Use both closed and open questions

Closed questions limit the available responses that your conversation partner could give. For example, if you ask a yes-or-no question, it limits their response to one or the other.

Open-ended questions are questions that don’t limit the response the other person could provide. Open questions are often used to carry on or prolong a conversation.

But both closed and open questions should be used to keep the conversation flowing in a natural way.

3. Read body language and cues

A lot of our in-person communication is non-verbal, with much of our meaning conveyed through body language.

Practice paying attention to the body language of your conversation partner so that you can pick up on important social queues.

When you know you have to have a difficult conversation, you can use your own body language to keep the situation calm too.

4. Channel your curiosity

Being curious can prompt you to ask more questions to keep the conversation flowing.

Your intellectual curiosity can be used as a source of conversation starters or topics to talk about during a conversation. You will probably find it easier to talk about something that you are curious to learn about.

5. Be kind to yourself

Always remember to be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion.

Forgive yourself for awkward conversations and keep trying. If you are brave enough to try to learn how to start a hard conversation and fall short initially, you will improve in time.

Know how to carry a conversation for good connections

In our digital world, it's more important than ever to know how to carry a conversation. Although remote work has changed working dynamics, connecting with others is still important.

Developing your conversation skills won't just build strong relationships with your peers. It will give you greater influence with your communications and make you an overall more confident person.

Becoming a great conversationalist is a key social skill. And like any skill, it takes time and practice to develop.

The great news is that you can develop your skills with deliberate practice. Just focus on getting a little better every day.  Personalized support can help you grow further, faster, whether you want to develop your conversational skills, overcome your inner critic, or plan your career — get started today.

How to have better conversations with people you've just met, according to science

In another study from Dunn and Sandstrom, a group of students were asked to carry around counters and keep count all social interactions over the course of their day. Having more social interactions led the students to report greater levels of happiness and wellbeing.

In terms of how much differences in personality traits affect these assertions, Sandstrom, Nightingall, Dunn, and others say, less than you’d probably think. “Both extroverts and introverts are social beings,” Nightingall says.

Sandstrom adds that people who are more introverted tend to be more worried about how conversations will go ahead of time compared with extroverts. But those differences go away when people report the benefits they get out of a conversation (according to what she and colleagues found in the aforementioned "Psychological Science" paper published last year). That research also looked at other personality differences besides introversion. “Things like self-esteem and rejection sensitivity didn’t matter,” Sandstrom says.

How to actually be better at talking to strangers

Whether it’s approaching someone at a networking event, engaging a friend of a friend you’ve never met before at a party, or sharing a kind word with a stranger on the elevator (yep, we went there), here are some pointers:

1. Be brave, worry less

Even if it’s uncomfortable, be brave and just do it, Sandstrom says. The person is probably going to like you more than you think and you’re both probably going to enjoy it more than you think.

And don’t be afraid to talk to someone who seems different from you, adds Juliana Schroeder, PhD, assistant professor at the Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley. (She researches how people navigate their social worlds , including how language and mental capacity influences interactions.) “When you have to talk with someone different from you, that can be the most enlightening and interesting experience.”

2. Be curious

Ask questions. Is the person wearing an article of clothing that’s noteworthy? Why did they decide to come to whatever event you’re both at? Research actually suggests that people who ask more questions are better liked by their conversation partners than people who ask fewer questions. A question can either kick off a conversation or keep it going, Sandstrom says.

3. Don’t be afraid to go off-script

Skip the stock questions (what do you do, where do you live, etc.), and ask a question that will make your conversation partner think, which is engaging, Nightingall says. Or start with a statement: “This painting really confuses me” or “I can’t believe how crowded the train is today.” Statements are invitations to share curiosities, Nightingall says.

And whether you’re asking a question, replying, or making a statement, be authentic, she adds. “People want to get the real you so they can express the real them.”

4. Give someone a compliment

It shifts the focus to the other person and should make them feel good, Sandstrom explains. When it comes to our anxieties about having conversations with people we don’t know, we tend to be in our heads a lot, overthinking what we’re doing wrong or what we could do wrong, she explains. Focusing the attention on the other person in those moments can help us get past those awkward spots, she says.

5. Talk about something you both have in common

At the very least, you’re in the same place and experiencing the same weather. But don’t be afraid to dig deeper and find more interesting commonalities: maybe you’re from the same place, maybe you have a mutual friend, maybe you have a shared hobby, or maybe you work in similar roles.

“We tend to overestimate how different people are from one another and how different they are from us, “ Sandstrom says. “In reality, you probably have lots in common, but you just don’t know what that is yet.”

6. Have more conversations with people you don’t know

The more you have, the more likely that you’re going to have good conversations, Sandstrom says. You get better at asking better questions, and answering with more interesting responses. “There’s some skill, but its as much confidence that come from just doing it more often,” she says.

We fear social rejection — that the person won’t respond positively or will ignore us, Schroeder says. Research shows the opposite, however, that people nearly always are willing to engage in a conversation when prompted by someone else. (Our fear assumptions fail to take into account the social norms of politeness, Schroeder says.)

7. Don’t let the awkward moments trip you up

Sandstrom says in her experience, she would describe the stages of having a conversation with a stranger as follows: First, they look at you as if asking, “Do I know you?” Then there’s recognition they don’t know you. Then it’s, “Wait, are you a weirdo?” Then they get past all of that and realize you’re just being friendly.

“You have to be OK that it might be awkward for a bit,” Sandstrom says. “But if you keep going, hopefully you’ll get to that stage where you’re having a real conversation.”


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How to Become a Small Talk Master

If the word “networking” makes you feel hot and cold at the prospect of being at a party surrounded by strangers, this guide will come in handy. We talked to those for whom small talk is a pleasant entertainment or a work necessity, and we publish their advice.

Realize that your interlocutors are ordinary people

To turn off the fear of strangers toggle switch, it is worth reminding yourself that you are ordinary people with their own problems and oddities. Many of them are as shy as you are, although they look confident.

“For me, networking, expanding the circle of contacts is a mandatory element of work. This is hard for me, and I realized that it is not necessary to perceive communication as pleasure and entertainment. There are actually not so many born lovers to get acquainted. I learned to put up with it and just go and talk,” says Dmitry, CEO of the technology company Genesis Vision.

“It helped me a lot just to repeat to myself that in front of me are absolutely the same people as me, and they are also worried. I began to treat people not with fear, but with respect, realizing that they, too, are probably uncomfortable, awkward and unclear what to talk about. After that, I began to help strangers to get in touch with me. I started to approach myself, start some friendly-neutral conversations and noticed that this is almost always accepted positively, ”says Anna.

Consider the context

At fun parties, it is better not to delve into serious conversations, and at business events it is hardly worth being excessively eccentric. For communication to be successful, consider the place and time of the meeting.

“When it comes to business conferences and exhibitions, everything is as simple as possible. Everyone comes there for the sake of networking, so you can approach anyone and directly ask who he is, what he does, why he came to the event. Then immediately tell about yourself.

Literally in a minute it becomes clear whether you have common ground with the interlocutor. If yes, you exchange contacts and then connect for deeper communication. But the first conversation is as simple as possible - no need to look for any reasons. No one here has the goal of talking about abstract secular topics. You can, of course, ask a couple of abstract questions out of politeness, but this is not necessary, ”Dmitry notes.

“The most uninhibited interaction with people who are potentially needed for work usually occurs at events where alcohol is served. It sort of loosens the atmosphere. At early business breakfasts, everyone is usually very tense, and getting to know each other is much more difficult than at cocktail parties. So, if possible, it’s better to choose relaxed formats,” advises Gleb, PR manager at an international company.

Control your body

“I often think of the public speaking training I did when I worked at Deloitte. We analyzed the components of a good speech. There are three of them: content of speech, manner of speech and body language. All kinds of research and personal experience (my and my colleagues) say that body language is the most important thing. It's not so important what you say, what matters is how you present yourself. So, be sure to be confident, smile, look people in the eye,” says Alexander, an employee of the Ministry of Economic Development.

“I always keep track of whether a person is in an open or closed position. If a person is closed from the very beginning of the conversation, it means that he is uncomfortable and you need to try to help him. Often a good way to do this is to open up first, start talking about yourself. If a person changed his posture to a closed one when you touched on a specific topic, obviously he does not like to talk about it. By body language, one can still judge the degree of a person's involvement in the dialogue: if he looks to the side, fidgets in his chair, it means that he is most likely hovering somewhere in his thoughts. You need to develop observation skills, learn to notice such markers in your own and other people's behavior,” says Ivan, a recruiter at Revolut and a psychologist by education.

No negativity

A great way to ruin the evening for yourself and others is to start complaining about being tired or talking about how annoying everything around you is. Sometimes common sorrows unite, but much more often conversations about bad things prevent you from leaving a pleasant impression about yourself.

“Even if you're at a party and you don't like the music, it's wrong to start talking about how terrible the party is. Both you and the interlocutor, for some reason, are still here, ”explains Anna.

“Of course, you need to behave naturally and be yourself, but in no case should you pretend to be a martyr. There is no need to demonstrate in every possible way that you are not a big fan of communication, parties, events, and everything that happens is somehow unpleasant for you. You need to tune in to a positive wave, then it will turn out to be attractive for dialogue, ”Gleb notes.

Compliment appropriately

Everyone enjoys being praised, and a couple of well-placed compliments will help them relax and leave a good impression on you.

“We rarely say nice things to each other. The world around is quite aggressive. Becoming a comfortable conversationalist who can say something good is already cool. But there are nuances that should be taken into account. First, my personal experience is that overly florid compliments from strangers scare people. Secondly, it is better not to compliment appearance: a person does not choose appearance, and it is not worth evaluating it. But what a person does, how he is dressed, how he carries himself, speaks, is already the result of some kind of work and his choice. This can and should be noted. But there are actually very few universal compliments - I am for an individual and sincere approach. If it seems to me that the color of a blouse really suits a person, I will say so, ”says Anna.

Don't overstep your boundaries

The choice of topics for conversation depends a lot on where you are. If you meet at a conference, exhibition or in a theater, you and your interlocutor already have at least one common topic - what you just saw and heard. In other cases, things can be more difficult. When you grope for an interesting topic of conversation, the main thing is not to violate the personal boundaries of the other person.

“If a person is completely unfamiliar or unfamiliar, it seems to me a very bad idea to immediately discuss some very serious topics with him - politics, religion. This is especially inappropriate at fun events. But more than once I found myself in such conversations with people for whom these topics are, in principle, the main ones in communication. There are people in my circle for whom the evening will be wasted if they do not talk to everyone about Trump's policy towards Venezuela. If I have a benevolent mood and enough energy, I will listen to them, and if not, I will curtail the conversation, ”says Anna.

“You can't touch on personal topics in a conversation with people you don't know well, I strongly advise you not to ask about your family. The boundaries of a person in space, in time are also very important. No need to get too close to the interlocutor or turn to someone who looks busy, ”says Alexander.

Be sincerely interested in your interlocutor

A pleasant and interesting conversation will not work if you talk about yourself without paying attention to the person in front of you. Dialogue requires the participation of at least two people. Find a way to show the other person that you are really listening. And try to talk more about what is interesting to another.

“We are always thinking about how to start a conversation, worrying about whether it will be interesting. And we forget how important it is to listen. And the key to pleasant and effective communication lies precisely in this, it seems to me. You need to listen actively: ask questions, take a lively and sincere interest in the interlocutor, try to understand what topics cause him sincere delight, which makes his eyes burn. It is necessary to give the interlocutor more space in the dialogue, and not fill the entire air with yourself,” notes Alexander.

Don't be intrusive

If the conversation is not going well and the interlocutor is clearly not happy with your company, it is pointless and tactless to continue trying to charm him. Not all conversations are meant to be interesting, and that's okay. Sometimes even the most open people simply don't feel like getting to know each other. And sometimes it turns out that someone does not like you personally, and this is not a tragedy either. As soon as you notice that the dialogue has exhausted itself, politely say goodbye and leave.

“It happens that a person is not in the mood. Well, he doesn’t want to get acquainted, he is all in his thoughts and didn’t count on any small talk at all. I try to feel it and somehow flow away. Anyway, contact has already been established - it is quite possible that at the next meeting we will be able to communicate.

How to politely end a conversation? If the conversation does not go on, the person will only be glad that you leave him behind.

No need to reinvent the wheel: you can say that you are going to wash your hands, smoke or make a phone call. It is necessary, of course, to wait for some kind of natural pause in the conversation, not to interrupt the interlocutor, ”Anna advises.

“The longer you observe people, the better you will notice the difference between a person who does not react very openly to you and a person who reacts negatively. In the first case, it’s worth trying to create a comfortable atmosphere, and in the second, you just need to bring down, this is obvious, ”Ivan notes.

Practice more

Learning any skill takes practice first and foremost, the art of small talk is no exception. It is quite possible that at first you will be terribly nervous and even get into a couple of really awkward situations. But over time, the fear will go away. And the experience gained will help you feel people better and become an increasingly pleasant conversationalist.

“Feeling someone else's boundaries, someone else's subjectivity — emotional and intellectual — is a matter of practice. This cannot be learned at some theoretical level,” says Anna.

“You just do it over and over and at some point all the nervousness goes away. This is what actors do: they repeat over and over again what is unusual for them in order to get into the role, ”explains Ivan.

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20 Tips for Talking to Anyone




20 Tips for Talking to Anyone

20 cards June 20, 2020 282 503 views

Liana Khaziakhmetova

Communication is a key skill for anyone who strives to be successful. It's no secret that communicative people have a head start: they are more noticeable, they make you feel welcome, you just want to deal with them. Here are tips from the best psychology books on how to get along with anyone.


Honey-smeared spots

Communication books usually impose a fun-loving, extroverted approach: pretend to be carefree until they become second nature. But this is impossible.

Here's a tip from the Science of Communication book. For successful communication, you need to know your strengths - and use them competently. For example, chat where you feel comfortable. Make a list of places where you enjoy spending time: in a coffee shop, in a park. Or maybe you are more comfortable communicating in messengers.

Remember the places where you are “smeared with honey”. In them you relax and flourish. Try to hold important meetings there.



Scientists conducted an experiment: they asked people to listen to a recording in which a student tells how well he did on a test. One group of subjects heard that at the end the student spilled a cup of coffee on himself and planted a stain. The other one is not. The researchers asked both groups what impression the student made. In the recording where he spilled coffee on himself, he seemed more attractive to the subjects. Mistakes make us human. Show your vulnerability and it will be easier for you to get along with people.


Don't get obsessed

Most of us just feel like we stand out a lot. After all, each person is the center of his universe. Because we're so fixated on our behavior, it's hard for us to accurately gauge how close—or shallow—attention others are paying to us. In fact, there is often a discrepancy between how we see ourselves (and think others do) and how others see us. Most will not notice your mistakes and oversights.


Learn to joke

Not a single speech by the leaders of different countries can do without a joke, and there can be no more serious and responsible work. The ability to joke helps to reduce the tension of discussing any acute problem. But you have to be able to present a joke like a gourmet dish from a chef. There is no need to hurry, and in no case should the speaker himself laugh at his witticism.


Look for clues

Thread theory is an incredibly easy way to start a conversation, and besides, you will always have a few thoughts to continue the conversation. The more common topics, that is, threads, you find, the longer your communication will last - and the more sympathy you will cause. There are three main categories of general conversation topics that can serve you well in any situation - common acquaintances, common interests, and common motives.


Arouse curiosity

To engage a person in a dialogue, you need to arouse his interest, especially for sales managers. They only care about what is directly related to their business needs, not your product. And remember: you are not trying to sell. You strive to prove that talking to you is worth the time spent.


Communicate as equals

Communicating as equals can be intimidating if you are young or have never worked with people who make major corporate decisions. Understand: they are ordinary people. If in a conversation with them you look at them with canine devotion, this will affect your credibility. Focus on their business goals and the changes you can make, and they'll be interested in talking to you.


Pause in conversations

Often we ask a question and, without listening to the answer, continue talking. Another common communication mistake is answering your own question. There are only downsides to this: it will be uncomfortable for a person to communicate with us, and we will not learn anything about him, his requests, benefits, and our arguments will most likely turn out to be weak and will not affect his decision. That is why every time you ask a question, it is important to pause, give the person the opportunity to answer, and listen to him!


Tune in

You don't have to like everyone. It will take you more time to make connections or apply new behavioral tricks in a place that only makes you feel anxious and uncomfortable. By controlling the place, time, and person you interact with, you can set yourself up for success.


Use Your Hands

The best TED speakers use a particular mechanism to instantly build trust with their audience: they gesticulate a lot. The least popular speakers used an average of 272 hand gestures—yes, the analyzers painstakingly counted each one. The most popular speakers used an average of 465 hand gestures—almost double that!


Position yourself as a winner

Winners tend to take up as much physical space as possible. Their posture is often referred to as the "power posture": they raise their arms above their heads, straighten their chests, and throw their heads back. Sometimes we unknowingly put ourselves in the pose of a loser when we check the phone. Imagine: you tilt your head, cross your arms over your chest, press them tightly to your body and lower your shoulders. What do most of us do while waiting for a client or before entering an office where a meeting is taking place? Checking the phone! We need to put an end to this vicious practice!


Be an enthusiastic fan

People love being labeled positively. They improve our self-image and gently push us to be better.

Here are some phrases you can use.

- "Yes, you know everyone here - you must be an expert in networking!"

- "I am overwhelmed by your dedication to this company - they are incredibly lucky to have you. "

- "You are so well versed in this matter - how glad I am that you are among the guests today."

Let the interlocutor charm you, let him impress you. Listen to how eloquently he paints his ideas. Find a way to enhance their effect. Share his enthusiasm.


Imagine yourself in the place of the interlocutor

A great way to establish contact, to help a person open up and hear what he has to say, is to ask him questions like this:

- "How did you do it?"

"Why did you do that?"

- "How did you feel?"

To actively participate in the conversation and be able to respond to the interlocutor's words with relevant questions and comments, imagine yourself in the situation in which he is or which he describes to you. So you will experience at least a small fraction of what he experienced, and you will be able to grasp, hear the essence, which will allow you to respond correctly - so that the interlocutor will want to tell you even more.


Remember people by their names and interests

Stop passively listening to your interlocutor - scratch his ego behind the ear. Remember the people you talk to, from their names to their interests. Stop empty talk - start a strong relationship.

Here's a tip to help you remember the person's name. When you hear a person's name, address him by name. "Nice to meet you, Eliza!" or "Elise, this is my colleague Jenna." This activates auditory memory and allows you to hear the name spoken in your voice. At the same time, you provide the interlocutor with a small burst of dopamine.


Listen with your eyes

Pay attention to micro-expressions during a conversation and you will learn the whole truth about a person. This method is based on the search for the emotion behind the words. The point here is to listen to a person, perceiving what he says, by ear, as well as with his eyes.

Microexpressions disappear very quickly - in less than a second. Anything that lasts longer becomes a normal facial expression. Why is it so important? Microexpressions (less than a second) are uncontrollable, so they give out true emotions. Facial expressions (longer than a second) can be faked, they may not be real. Therefore, you need to look at short flashes of emotions and reflex reactions in order to get the most reliable idea of ​​​​the interlocutor.


Changing the way you think

The main barrier to successful communication is your way of thinking, writes Mark Rhodes in How to Talk to Anyone. The development of communication skills will largely depend on what meaning you attach to the reaction to your words.

For example, if you are trying to talk to someone and the other person looks away, what meaning would you give to that? You may think that you did something wrong and conclude that talking to strangers is unacceptable. And then you are unlikely to seek to strike up conversations with strangers. But what if your interlocutor was just shy? If you give his behavior just such a meaning, the result will be completely different. Changing the way you think is what helps you overcome fear and learn how to talk to anyone.


Dealing with fear of criticism

A good way to overcome fear is to imagine the worst case scenario and then imagine how you deal with that situation. Thus, you mentally, as it were, mark your fear, and this, in turn, will help you get rid of it or at least reduce it. For example, you can imagine that something is misunderstood and everyone is laughing at you. Now imagine saying to these people in such a caustic tone: "I'm very glad that you liked it" or: "I'm glad I made you smile." Imagine yourself as a comedian parrying the audience's lines. By doing so, you demonstrate that the reaction does not really excite or scare you.


Play with your voice

Another well-known but effective way to reach an understanding with an interlocutor is to match the pace of his speech. That is, if he speaks fast enough, you should try to speak at the same pace, unless, of course, this gives you too much inconvenience. Matching the pace of speech is necessary not only for mutual understanding. Different people perceive and process information at different speeds. This is reflected in the speed of speech. Therefore, if someone speaks relatively slowly, or the pace of their speech is noticeably slower than yours, this may mean that he needs to think carefully.


Use conversation starters

Most of the conversations we have with strangers are similar.

— What do you do? Oh cool. And where are you from? Mm, never been there. What brought you here? It's clear. Well, I'll go get another drink...

Boring! There is no emotional stimulus, no spark, no heights. After such a conversation, we can often hardly remember the name of a new acquaintance, let alone address him again. But why start a conversation with a new client if it will be so boring that he won’t remember it later anyway? Let's change the situation.

A conversation to be remembered involves fresh questions that spark communication. They spark new ideas, bring up topics that no one would think of, start deep discussions.

Try to start with an unexpected question that will spark genuine interest in the eyes of your interlocutor.


Show Warmth

Trying to figure out if we can be trusted, others look for warmth in us from the very beginning, writes Susan David in Emotional Flexibility. It doesn't mean "hugs", "caring" or "a guy I'd like to have a beer with". By warmth, we mean friendliness, loyalty, empathy, which are taken as proof of good intentions.

How to demonstrate warmth? Research shows that warm people tend to make eye contact, nod, and smile. During the dialogue, maintain eye contact both when you speak and when you listen. Nod occasionally to show that you understand the other person. Smile, especially when the other person is doing the same.

The main thing is to focus on what you are being told. People need to feel that they are being heard, even if you cannot fulfill their request or provide specific assistance.

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