Keeping a conversation going can be difficult. Fortunately, there are simple techniques you can use to keep the other person hooked and interested. Show your own interest by asking good questions and listening. Then, find a rhythm that allows you to connect with the other person. Make sure you have open body language that makes the other party feel comfortable during the conversation.
Method 1 of 3: Be interested
Step 1. Pick topics that you know the other person is interested in
In general, people like to talk about themselves and their interests. You can keep the conversation going on topics that you know the other person likes.
- Before meeting with someone, think of three predetermined topics that you can fall back on if the conversation stops. Remember any recent trips, work events, or relationships your friend mentioned.
- Ask questions about school or work, passions or hobbies, family and friends, or background (where she came from or her family's history).
- You can also use context cues from earlier parts of the conversation to determine if you should drop a topic or continue with it. For example, if the person was enthusiastic about talking about bull riding before, you can ask about other bull riders, cowboy culture, or how they first rode a bull.
Step 2. Ask open-ended questions
Questions that are answered with a "yes" or a "no" can close the conversation while others open the doors to more possibilities. Ask open-ended questions that allow the other person to develop the answer as much as they want.
- On the other hand, open questions demand more than the answer. For example, instead of asking a question like "So you studied abroad for a year in 2006, right?", Try asking something like "What was studying abroad like?" The second question will give the person you are talking to more room to develop the answer.
- If you ask a closed question that is answered with a "yes" or a "no", try to save the situation by saying something like "Tell me more."
Step 3. Listen carefully to what he says
Listening is just as important as speaking when it comes to keeping a conversation going. Active listening gives you the opportunity to hear the other person's perspective. Wait until the person has completely finished speaking before saying anything. Then summarize what he said to show that you have heard by saying something like "It sounds like …".
- If you don't understand any part of the message, ask a clarifying question like "Are you saying that …?"
- If you're a good listener, you can use any unexplored topics that were brought up earlier in the conversation to keep things moving. For example, you can say "A while ago I heard you mention …".
- Express empathy as you listen by putting yourself in the other person's shoes.
Step 4. Encourage her to keep talking
The best listeners not only sit and look at the speaker during a conversation, but participate without interrupting using stimuli. These can be small approving noises like "ah" or "oh". Stimuli can also keep the person talking, like when you say something like "So?"
Stimuli can also be nodding or mirroring the other person's facial expression, such as looking surprised or upset
Method 2 of 3: develop a good rhythm
Step 1. Don't filter what you want to say
One of the reasons most conversations are poor is that both people struggle to filter what they should or should not say. You start to think that you've run out of topics and can't tell if something that comes to mind is appropriate or impressive enough. During these moments, use the strategy of saying whatever you think without censoring anything.
For example, there is a long silence and you start to think how uncomfortable the heels you are wearing are. Say "These heels are killing me!" it may seem strange. However, that honest statement can lead to a conversation about the feminist view of not wearing high heels or a talk about the time someone fell for wearing ridiculously high heels
Step 2. Call the discomfort by name
Even the best conversations face obstacles that threaten to throw things off course. The most effective solution to that is to tell it like it is and move on. Pretending that the discomfort is not there can alienate the other person.
For example, if you make a mistake and say something offensive, immediately back down and ask for forgiveness. Don't act like it didn't happen
Step 3. Make the other person laugh
Humor is a good way to keep the conversation going. It also helps to bond with the other person. People are more likely to laugh when they are with friends, so making the other party laugh can create a bond with them.
You don't have to tell a joke to make someone laugh. Timely sarcasm and wit can be just as effective. For example, if you keep mentioning your interest in anime to the other person, after the third mention, you can say something like "I think I have to stop mentioning anime before you think I'm a fan. I am. I'm a fan. anime fan. I'm wearing a costume of my favorite character. Just kidding! "
Step 4. Ask deeper questions
After you've gotten the formalities out of the way, take the conversation to a deeper level. Think of the conversation as a meal, first you eat the appetizer, then the main course, and finally the dessert. Once you and the other person have talked a few superficial things, it's time to dig deeper.
- For example, you have asked "What do you do?" After some time, you can go deeper by asking something like "Why did you choose that career?" Generally, questions that begin with “why” help to delve into information that has already been shared.
- As you ask more intimate questions, pay close attention to cues about the other person's comfort level. If she starts to look uncomfortable, take a step back and ask less intimate questions.
- Try to stay on top of current events so that you always have something to add to a conversation. For example, you can ask someone for their opinion on a current political issue or development in the world.
Step 5. Don't be afraid of silence
Silence is useful in communication and should not be avoided like a plague. Helps catch your breath and process thoughts. It can also indicate that a topic change is needed if things get boring or too intense.
- A few seconds of silence are completely normal. Don't feel the need to rush to fill them.
- However, if the silence lasts too long, change the subject by saying, "I am interested in hearing more about what you were saying earlier about …".
Method 3 of 3: Have Good Body Language
Step 1. Show relaxed body language
Good body language is essential to help the other person feel comfortable and open to talking to you. Sitting upright in the chair can make the other person uncomfortable. To show your comfort level, smile kindly and lean back a little in the chair to adopt an angular posture. Lean casually against a wall or column if you are standing.
Another way to show that you are relaxed is by relaxing your shoulders. If you have them taut, let them fall down and back
Step 2. Look the person you are talking to in the eye
A good conversation involves a connection between you and the other person. You won't make that connection if you look the other way. Also, having your body or feet point in another direction shows that you are about to leave. Instead, direct your body toward the other person.
To show interest during parts of the conversation, lean toward the person
Step 3. Make eye contact
Regular eye contact is essential to keep the conversation going. Make eye contact as soon as the conversation begins. Then continue the conversation by looking into the other person's eyes for four to five seconds. Looking away is fine too. Take a few seconds to survey your surroundings before reestablishing eye contact again.
Try to do it for half the time you talk and 70% the time you listen. Sticking to this formula will help you remember how much eye contact to make without staring at someone
Step 4. Don't cross your arms or legs
Crossed arms and legs send the message that you are not interested in what the other person has to say. It can also make you appear cautious or defensive. If you have a habit of crossing your arms and legs, go the extra mile to relax your sides during a conversation.
If you don't feel like it's normal at first, this is perfectly fine. Try to do it. Over time, you may become more comfortable
Step 5. Take a position of power to project confidence
If you feel like you're not very confident, you can position your body in a way that makes you look and feel confident. When you sit down, try to put your hands behind your head in an inverted "V" shape. If you are standing, a good way to take a power posture is by placing your hands on your hips during the conversation.