A conversation can make or break your day. Whether you have bumped into a colleague or a superior who can give you a career boost you or you are looking for a prospective romantic date, having an engaging conversation is the most important part of the entire experience.
Most people think that having a conversation means talking, and what could be easier than talking, right? But remember those moments when you’re sitting or standing in front of someone you hardly know and you are wondering what to say or how to react to what is being said? When you think of it, having an interesting talk doesn’t seem like an uphill task and in your mind, you can have an engaging conversation with Obama and Putin at the same time. But what happens actually?
A productive conversation depends on the following factors:
- How well you know the person
- How comfortable you are with the surroundings
- How well-versed you are with the topic being talked about
- How attentively you listen and retain what is being said
- How well you can articulate it yourself
As you can easily make out, there are some attributes you can control, and some you cannot, for instance knowing or not knowing a person. But there are many things you can control and even improve with practice and inclination, according to this Lifehacker article. Some of the actions, activities and tendencies that you can control are:
Listen to what the other person is saying carefully
Whatever your intentions behind having the present conversation are, the entire thing depends on how much you can listen to, how much you can absorb and accordingly, how you react. So listening is very important. Hold your horses of fantasy and just listen. Don’t let your mind wander off here and there. Try to absorb every word without making it too obvious.
Don’t try to dominate the conversation
Speaking more, constantly cutting off the other person and pretending as if you know about everything under the sun isn’t going to make a good impression on the other person. It simply makes you preoccupied, and you may even end up offending the other person. In the process you cannot listen properly. Even if you have something really valuable to add to the ongoing conversation, hold your horses. Let the other person complete his or her sentence and let him or her believe that you are trying to absorb every bit of communication. Then, very politely, present your own argument.
Give genuine compliments
Genuine compliments are always great conversation boosters. They are not the only part of a conversation but they can definitely set the mood in a positive sense and make the other person more receptive. Just make sure that when you praise someone you actually mean it because otherwise even marginally intelligent person can make out that you are lying.
Know when to ask the right question
When you ask the right question it proves two things: one, you know your stuff, and two, you have been listening to what is being said. So even if a question seems uncomfortable or inappropriate, provided you feel that it should be genuinely asked, you must ask that question.