Being a good conversationalist is crucial in every aspect of our life, from career improvement to love life. So, how can you improve your communication and become an interesting conversationalist?
Practice with online conversations
The best way to improve your conversation is to practice with different people and train your social skills.
If you’re too shy to talk with people in real life, you could begin online in a smaller and friendly setting.
There are apps and social platforms where you can have exciting conversations and become more confident. Check out this guide:
Improspeak is an original app where you can talk and share your passions in a community of like-minded people.
All you need is a webcam and a microphone, and Improspeak will match you with someone based on your shared interests, then the conversation can start.
If you don’t know what to say or struggle to find topics to talk about, Improspeak gives you fun question cards that you can use to keep the conversation going.
A unique aspect of Improspeak is its way to keep moderation: after each chat, you will be able to rate your conversation buddy. This system keeps away pervs and bullies from the community.
So if you want to improve your communication skills while having meaningful conversations with interesting people, Improspeak is the perfect solution for you. Oh and, by the way, it’s free.
Twitch is a live streaming platform where you can follow themed channels by content creators or have your channel sharing what you like. This video-sharing community is exciting to gamers and creative people who want to show how they enjoy certain activities.
Twitch is a great social platform for finding people with similar interests and gaining knowledge about skills you want to master.
3. Online Forums
For every interest, there’s a forum online. You cal search for a specific topic and you’ll be surprised by the number of people willing to help you out or simply talk about your common passions.
The most known platform that works as a forum is Reddit, but if you’re looking for something specific, there are several places to share your content and talk with people online.
Find the community that fits you best and start conversations!
Use these tips for a great conversation
Once you find a topic, you have to start the conversation and keep it alive and exciting. You don’t want to go blank. Here are the essential tips to have a delightful talk:
1. Find common ground
When we want to have a positive conversation, we look for similarities.
For example, if you and the other person are both in the same place, you can use that as a conversation starter. What brings them there? Is it their first time? What similar places do they know? And so on.
Remember to keep the conversation circular by adding your opinions after their answers.
Be sure to bring up appropriate topics and keep them casual, maybe subjects related to the specific environment you’re in or the event you’re attending.
2. Open up!
There is a topic that’s never wrong to use: you! If you want to know people, you should start by letting them know you first.
You don’t have to talk about sensitive sides of your life necessarily. You can simply start with things you like, your hobbies, your favourite books or shows, or maybe an interesting situation that happened to you recently.
Start showing yourself and what you’re passionate about; people will follow and add their part to the conversation.
Don’t trick yourself by thinking people will judge you. That is a cognitive bias called the ”spotlight effect”, and everybody overestimates the amount of attention from others.
On the other hand, you could find out you share the same anime with someone you wouldn’t expect.
3. Ask open-ended questions
Once you talk about yourself, you should ask the other person a related open-ended question, meaning there will be a rich answer instead of a basic yes or no. Be curious about the other person!
You can then go deeper and ask other questions about what the person is saying, or you can hook up to their answer and keep the conversation going by mentioning other related things.
That way, you will always switch subjects smoothly and have engaging conversations with no awkward silence.
4. Pay attention to your body language
Before we say anything, we show interest with our body language. Keep eye contact with the partner, especially when he’s talking.
Show yourself participating in what he’s saying and listen actively. You don’t want to look distracted by your phone or to look elsewhere; the other person may feel ignored or think they’re boring. Nod your head, smile and keep an open body language.
5. Let the other person break the silence
Don’t be afraid of occasional pauses! They have the purpose of creating a natural flow in the exchange.
Let your partner be the one to break the silence and add something new to the conversation. Give them space.
You’re not having a monologue, and you have to share the floor in a balanced amount of talking and listening.
Silence is power!
6. Give compliments and ask for recommendations
Make your interlocutor feel appreciated and important by giving genuine and appropriate compliments.
It can be their eyes or their haircut. However, you can play it safe by complimenting what they’re wearing: something they actively chose to buy and wear. It reflects their style and personality, and it can be an excellent springboard for a conversation.
You could go on and ask them where they bought it, or you could tell them that you’re looking for something similar and see what they suggest. Ask for recommendations about shops or products they appreciate; it will make them feel looked up to.
7. Be honest about yourself
Don’t try to be someone else! People have to know you and like you for your true self.
Making up stories to impress others or pretending to know something you don’t are not good strategies. People appreciate honesty, so if the conversation switches about something you don’t know much about, simply admit it and ask others to explain and tell you more about it.
8. No bragging or ranting
When you talk about yourself, you should always stay humble.
Stay on the same level with your conversation partner, don’t elevate yourself by bragging about your successes, and don’t put yourself down with belittling and disparaging comments as well.
Bragging will make you sound arrogant, while self-deprecation will inspire pity more than genuine sympathy.
It’s a good idea to avoid ranting about your problems as well. That could become a boring monologue or, worst-case scenario, it could lead to a controversial discussion between you and your partner if they disagree with your statements.
9. Remember previous conversations
If you met the same person before, remember what they shared about their life.
Last time they told you about a specific project they were working on? Ask them how it is going and something new they would like to tell you about.
You will demonstrate you listened carefully and they will be glad you remember some details about them.
10. End the conversation when it’s time
If you notice that the other person doesn’t participate actively in the conversation and seems bored or distracted, it may be time to end the conversation.
Remember that quality conversations are not necessarily long ones, and the way you end a conversation is decisive.
You could politely use an excuse to take leave of the conversation. For example, you could say that you have chores to do, a meetup with someone or groceries to buy.
Tell them that it’s been nice meeting them and hopefully you’ll run into each other again, be relaxed and nicely say goodbye.
Manage anxiety with these steps
If you think social anxiety prevents you from having pleasant conversations, you should learn how to manage it.
Social anxiety is a common problem that makes us believe we are constantly observed and judged by others. To fight this fear and overcome anxiety, you should follow these tips:
1. Don’t be so hard on yourself
Don’t take yourself too seriously! We often judge ourselves more than others. Our minds will only notice the blunders we make and focus on them without seeing our strengths.
Everybody has flaws, but we have qualities too. Focus on your positive side and forgive yourself for your slight mistakes without overthinking the situation.
2. Practice deep breathing
Anxiety can cause your breathing to get faster, together with your heart rate; therefore, you might feel dizzy and get even more anxious in a loop because your body is literally in a fight or flight mode.
There are effective techniques that focus on breathing to help you keep calm. Try these little steps:
- Try to sit down and relax your shoulders.
- Put your hand on your belly and feel the movement as you’re breathing.
- Breathe for 4 seconds through your nose.
- Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
- Breath out for 4 seconds through your mouth.
Practice this until you feel calm again.
3. Ground yourself in the present moment
Use your senses to stay in the present moment. When we’re in an anxiety state, we struggle to return to Earth and be present to ourselves.
To avoid this feeling, find five things you can smell, five things you can touch, five things you can taste, and so on. This exercise will help you be aware of your surrounding.
4. Expose yourself to social interactions and be prepared
You might feel anxious and avoid social situations, but a little practice is the best way to fight the fear of social interactions. Pick an event to attend, a social occasion to practice comfortably, and prepare for what’s to come.
Depending on the occasion, you might want to find related subjects to talk about or relaxing exercises to manage anxiety.
5. Shift the focus to something else
If you’re worried about being the centre of attention, take the focus away from you and shift the conversation to what’s happening right there.
Be present and aware of your surroundings, listen to what people say and remember that nobody can read your mind and know that you’re anxious at that moment.
These are the best apps and tips to become a better conversationalist.. Now it’s your turn! Follow these steps and remember to practice every day to become a great communicator!