If you sometimes find it difficult to make conversation with others – especially strangers – here are 4 tips that will put you more at ease:
- *Be genuinely interested – When you are interested in people, they know it. Good conversationalists show their interest by focusing their attention on the person they are talking to. They make solid eye contact, they nod in understanding, make short affirming comments, they do not interrupt, and they do not allow their attention to be diverted with distractions.
- *Actively listen – Active listening skills include paying close attention to what is being said by the speaker and not thinking about what you are going to say next. Paraphrasing back what you heard, and asking clarifying questions are effective techniques to ensure that you understand what the speaker has said.
2. Don’t tell. Ask. – So you don’t have to feel the pressure of carrying the conversation by talking about yourself, ask questions instead. By asking questions of the person you are speaking with, it shows your interest and engages them further in the conversation. Close-ended questions are answered with a simple “yes” or “no” response. Therefore, ask open-ended questions which usually start with “What” and “How”. Open-ended questions require that the speaker share more about the topic, and often leads to stimulating and thought-provoking conversation.
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