6 Ways To Be More Engaging In Conversations
It feels so nice to meet someone new and discover they are a charming, charismatic conversationalist. Because when you know how to be engaging in conversations, everyone is at ease, friendships are made, and dates go well. It's truly a skill that makes life so much easier.
And yet for many people, the very idea of one-on-one convos (or worse, the dreaded circled up group), can make you want to take a vow of silence. We've all been subjected to these situations, and witnessed the different conversation styles —and how most of them don't work. There's the one-upper, who always has a better story than you. Then there's the silent listener, who doesn't add much to the experience other than their presence. There's also the interrupter, who can't seem to grasp the fact it's not their turn to talk. And then there's the charmer — the one who makes everyone feel welcome, heard, and relaxed. They are the true winners of the circle group.
But don't think that charm only comes in handy for parties full of strangers. It's also something you can dish out to people you already know. Of course, with your friends you can be a whiny sad sack if you please. However, being able to whip out the charm for a girls' night, or a fancy date with your SO — what's better than that?
Here are some ways to have some movie star charm, and win people over in every conversation you ever have, from here on out.
1. Don't Rely On Complaints To Get The Convo Going
When you're at a party, it can be tempting to groan about your long day at work in an effort to find common ground with the other guests. And while it may get a conversation going, this method isn't doing you any favorites in the charm department. As Casey Gueren noted on Buzz Feed, "You want an excuse to start a conversation, but you don’t want to seem like a whiny, negative person. Break the ice with a positive observation instead."
2. Show That You're Listening By Asking Thoughtful Questions
There's definitely an art to listening during conversations. You want to make good eye contact and nod your head to show interest, but you also want to keep up your side of the convo. And the best way to do this is by asking thoughtful questions. According to John Hall on Forbes, "Make it a point to ask at least one question before moving on to the next topic. Gathering details makes it more likely that you’ll be able to establish a connection with the other person..."
3. Assess The Situation Before Barging In
So you want to mosey on into a conversation and charm everyone's pants off, but you're not quite sure when to make your move. When that's the case, assess the situation first, and only go in when it's clear what you're getting yourself into. As Patrick Allan noted on Lifehacker.com, "Before you dive into conversation head first, you should have an idea of what you're dealing with. What does their body language say? Do they know someone you already know? ... These are all things you should know beforehand."
4. Remember The Little People (Who Get Interrupted)
Things can get messy at loud parties or networking events, and people don't always get to finish what they had to say. That's always a bummer, and people usually move on without going back to finish their thought. So imagine how perfectly charming you'd appear if you remembered what they were saying, and asked them to continue? As Gueren noted, "Not only is it super respectful and nice, but it shows that you were actually listening and interested."
5. Keep An Eye Out For Common Interests
During the conversation you want to be present, but you always want to start a little running mental list of key phrases and interests the person shares so that you can oh so very charmingly bring them up later on. "As you start to chat with them, look for interests you both share. There is always some kind of common ground between two people, so keep searching. As you search, look for 'latch words.' These are words that fit your own interests that you can use to generate more conversation with. If you like to travel and someone starts to talk about going on vacation, you can latch on to 'vacation' and use it to segue into stories or questions," Allan suggested.
6. Be Chill About Lulls In The Conversations
Whether you know someone or not, a lull in conversation can feel like quite the awkward (and unending) couple of seconds. According to Gueren, "Being comfortable and confident during a lull in the conversation can be more impressive than rushing to fill the silence." So don't let moments of silence send you into a nervous laughing fit, or a painful few moments where you stare, pleading-eyed, at the other person. Just be cool.
Even the most awkward of us can be a charming, engaging conversationalist. All it takes is a little practice, and keeping the other person in mind, before you'll find yourself chatting it up with the best of them.
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