Reclaim the Art of Conversing With These 5 tips
The art of conversation is lost. We keep hearing that phrase over and over. Yes, it’s true that our smartphones and laptops have created some complications when it comes to speaking face to face but we don’t think that hope is lost.
People are longing for personal connection. Back in the old day, before the internet, computers or cell phones people had no choice but to walk up to other people and start talking just to communicate. The student lounge or local pub for example would be classic places where you could go for a coffee at lunch or drink after work and just start talking with people. This thought seems a little out of reach for some nowadays. Mostly we meet at a coffee shop or lounge from a pre-arranged text or phone call with people you already know. Rarely do you see strangers interacting with each other just because they want to converse.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can talk to people you don’t know and you should! You may meet someone interesting, learn something new or even meet a new friend.
We’ve come up with some great tips on how to start a conversation with someone. So get out there and give it a shot!
1. Decide who you want to talk to
This may seem like an obvious question but if you have trouble starting a conversation with new people it is super helpful to decide what kind of person you want to engage with! The easiest way to start deciding is asking yourself, “who has something in common with me? Is there someone that seems interesting? Is there an activity that you are involved with that someone else is involved with too?”
2. Start Small
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to go too deep, too soon. Start with a head nod or wave “hello” or even a simple introduction or comment: “Hi, my name is…” “ or “That class was pretty interesting, huh?”
3. Choose a Topic
Before even engaging with someone you can always choose a topic to talk about. Making an effort to choose a topic beforehand can be a good way to relieve some anxiety of meeting new people (psst! Be sure to be mindful of hint #1 when trying to decide a topic). For example: If you are at a new restaurant, choose something about it to talk about. It’s that easy.
4. Ask questions and actively listen
Generally, people like to feel appreciated. Usually, when they do, they will be more open and welcoming to interact with you. Make sure that your questions are open ended so that you give them an opportunity to express themselves. For example: “What is it about this restaurant that you like?” A question like this will entice them to tell you more about themselves and in return want to ask you questions! Bonus! Active listening involves approaching a conversation with a genuine desire to understand the other person’s feelings and perspective, without judgment or defensiveness – providing them with non verbal cues such as head nodding and eye contact for feedback. It’s important to listen actively when someone is speaking. It creates a sense of trust and will encourage them to reciprocate.
5. Be positive!
Conversing with new people is an exciting and positive thing. You will want to avoid talking about negative topics at first. Avoid using negative tones, and most important: smile!
If striking up a conversation or staying in one is difficult for you or someone you know, we would love to help. To learn more about our weekly conversation based social groups for children, teens and adults please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 306 933 3222.
We look forward to having a conversation with you,
The Speech Language Network Team