If a conversation you’re having with someone elicits feelings of boredom, disengagement, or thoughts of running far away into the woods somewhere, then you’re one of the many people who have fallen victim to meaningless conversation. A good conversation on the other hand, leaves you feeling inspired, motivated, or educated about something. These conversations tend to go on without either party glancing at the time, wondering when it would be appropriate to excuse themselves from the conversation.
As a leader, knowing how to carry on a meaningful conversation is essential. Whether you are speaking at an event, leading a meeting, conducting a one-on-one, or simply trying to educate or motivate others, your main goal is to keep people engaged in what you have to say.
There are many elements that go into having a good conversation. Some of these include, eye contact, showing engagement by nodding, and tilting ones head to the side, almost like you’re literally giving someone your ear. While all of these are essential, here are two important elements most people seem to forget.
The Conversation is Not Always About You
Sometimes people can be self-absorbed and tend go on and on about themselves without even noticing. Make an effort to talk less about yourself and ask more about the other person or people involved in your conversation. In other words, be interested, not just interesting.
Another great way to shift the balance of the conversation from being entirely about you is to frame your situation as it relates to the other person. Most successful bloggers, for example, write about themselves, yet, audiences are captivated by the outward focus of the blogger and how they apply their experiences, passions, and knowledge to the reader.
Another common conversation technique to keep in mind is to just talk about a mutual subject. Not only will this help everyone relate to one another, but it will add meaning and value to your conversation.
You Have to Give Trust to Get Trust
While a good conversation connects people, a meaningful conversation usually includes both sides opening up, thereby, creating a trusting bond between the people included in the exchange.
How do you go about creating trust in a conversation? First off, take the first step and open yourself up to the other person, showing that you confide in them. Being honest and open is a great way to show someone you are confident and trustworthy. However, being open isn’t always enough to generate trustworthiness. In this case, if the other person takes the initiative to reveal something personal about themselves, reward their effort by showing empathy and more importantly, support.
These rules might not make all your conversations perfect, but they’re excellent tips to get you started toward becoming an excellent conversationalist. Apply these tips to your conversations and let us know how they’ve helped!
“A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”