You may feel you don’t need to learn how to talk, but there’s more to conversing than just babbling in the presence of other people. Conversation is an art and is something you can learn. Whether you’re at a business or social function, or chatting to family members, these tips will help you to converse well.

  1. That might not sound like a conversational tactic, but seriously, if you want to engage with someone and charm them, take the time to listen to what they’re saying. And that doesn’t just mean waiting for them to finish talking so you can begin; it means really taking cognisance of what they’re saying, nodding and interjecting with encouraging sounds and then asking relevant questions to encourage further engagement.
  2. Be careful. If you’re chatting to someone you’ve just met, stay away from subjects that may be deemed controversial – like politics or religion. Rather find out what they’re interested in and steer the conversation that way. You’ll make them feel more relaxed by giving them a topic to talk about that they’re familiar with, and probably enjoy talking about.
  3. Don’t interrupt. Simply don’t do it. If you’ve got something to say, use your body language to indicate that; even go so far as lightly touching the person on the arm to get their attention without stopping their flow.
  4. Don’t compete. Seriously, if someone tells you an interesting or funny story, don’t try to up your game by sprouting an even funnier or more interesting story. Give them some time in the limelight and let them know you’re enjoying what they have to say. You’ll gain far more respect that way than by trying to one-up others.
  5. Spread it around. If you’re in a group of people, try not to only concentrate on one person, do your best to include everyone in the conversation by asking for their opinions or at least making positive eye contact while speaking.
  6. Keep cool. Be natural – there’s nothing as off-putting as someone who is trying to be something they’re not, or someone who is trying just a little bit too hard. Concentrate on being yourself and the conversation will flow.
  7. Speak up. While listening is a major key to a good conversation, you do need to contribute as well. If you know you’re going to an event where you’ll need to do some networking, brush up on the latest happenings before you go, so you’ll have a few topics of conversation to bring up to get a lagging conversation going again.

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