Think of a person you like. Who was the first person who came to your mind? I can bet that it was someone you can talk to about anything under the Sun. In fact, I wasn’t the prettiest or smartest girl in class, but all my escapades in high school and college happened because I knew how to talk to people.
Making people feel comfortable and making them want to talk to you, is a skill that comes in handy both in your professional and personal lives. And this is exactly what I am going to talk about in this post.
Here are a few things you should do to be a better conversationalist:
Believe that everyone loves you
According to an article published on Spring.org,
“If you believe that everyone loves you, they probably will! People who tend to think that they will be liked are called social optimists, and more often than not are right about people warming up to them. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. If you assume no one will like you, you tend to become cold and defensive and people will really not like you.”
Speak slowly and Clearly
In the best-selling book, ‘It’s Not All About “Me”: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone’, the author advises,
Don’t rush your words, but speak slowly and clearly. It makes you seem more credible.
A classic question to start with is, ‘Where are you from?’ and when you are asked this question, add a little detail about where all you’ve lived and what you like and don’t like about the places you’ve lived in – this encourages the other person to share their views and the conversation keeps going.
Don’t try too hard
Trying too hard has the exact opposite effect of what you want. So don’t name drop, or try to sound smart. Research from Harvard shows that people “Prefer a lovable fool to a competent jerk”.
The research says that there are four kinds of people, the absolute superstar (who obviously everyone loves), the absolute jerk (Who obviously everyone hates) and then come the lovable fool and the incompetent jerk. You’d think it is the competent jerk who is more preferred to get hired, but the research points to the opposite. We like fools more, as long as they are likeable!
Make it all about the other person
According to research quoted in the Wall Street Journal, talking about yourself gives you as much pleasure as food or money. So give people the pleasure of talking about themselves. And once they start talking about themselves,
If you are a good listener, people will naturally like talking to you. But the trick here is letting them know that you are listening to them. This is what is suggested by the behavioral change stairway model, developed by the FBI unit. You could repeat the last few words, repeat what they said in different words just to make sure you are on the same page and maybe try and put a label on their feelings.
Ask open ended questions
Open-ended questions are questions that cannot be answered with just a yes or a no. They elicit responses of more than a few words. According to It’s Not All About “Me”: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone, a good conversationalist feeds the conversation with open-ended questions that gets the other person talking.
So, here you have 6 actionable tips on how to be a better conversationalist. Why don’t you try these out and let us know in the comments below if they worked for you? We bet they will!