All the progress the human race has enjoyed comes down to communication, the ability to talk to anyone. Think about it. How would we have invented our first tools, raised families, built societies, and formed governments if we hadn’t been able to communicate effectively?
Talking to people can be as intimidating as one can imagine, usually because it’s often difficult to know what to say first to start the conversation and keep it flowing. Mastering the art of conversation is a vital skill one must acquire to form relationships, exchange ideas, and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Humans by nature are social beings, however, conversation skills don’t come naturally to everyone. It is never late to learn how to engage with others anywhere at any instance.
Meeting new people to have a small talk isn’t everyone’s favorite, but if you follow these simple steps, you might find yourself enjoying an uninterrupted conversation. Let’s begin:
5 Steps To Talk To Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime
- Be Open And As Simple As Possible:
Starting a conversation shouldn’t be a source of anxiety. Be the first to say hello, there is no such thing as a “perfect line”. Most people always search for such lines to strike up a conversation. The worst they can do is reject you. There are better chances that they will be happy you introduced yourself, who knows? While some people are open by nature, others can learn with practical efforts and a bit of mindfulness.
Simplicity and clarity of language makes communication soothing, expressing yourself to overcome shyness will also help both parties in building a lasting relationship. Remind yourself, whatever it turns out to be, it’s not going to change the course of civilization so take it easy.
- Watch Body Language:
Body language is everything. If you are tensed, or terrified, then the other person will feel uncomfortable. Put on a smile, take a deep breath or probably sip your drink, then everything will feel great.
Approachability counts here, lead with confident body language even if you are anxious on the inside. Get fired up when sharing a point, you are passionate about. Raise eyebrows in surprise when you hear something shocking or personal.
You will be a more successful conversationalist, if you are able to maintain strong eye contact. You’re more likely to have someone walk up to you than if your eyes are down. It is a crucial ingredient; this is especially true while the other person is talking. Without it, you will look nervous, and disengaged.
But don’t stare continuously, break the eye contact, doing it briefly and casually. Think about someone you may call a “social person”. How do they look in a conversation? Dull or lively?
- Show An Interest In Them; Listen:
Most articles on communication tips, start with “listen” or “listen well”. People naturally want to talk to those who will listen. Everyone wants to feel important and heard. Poor conversationalists think that “listening” is merely the act of waiting for their turn to speak all while composing their response in the mind, although this is valuable in its own right.
Apparently, this is a grave mistake. Listening includes much more, it involves providing someone else the opportunity to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions, building emotional intimacy and showing empathy. But how does this happen? It comes naturally when you are interested in the other person.
But if you are not actively interested in what the person is saying, it is impossible to have an engaging discussion at any instance. Try following the rule, “listen first”, “talk second” when you start the conversation. You show interest by nodding head, maintaining eye contact and saying things like, “mmhm”, “yeah”.
- Open Up With A Question(S):
This is a simple lead in. It gets things going and conveys interest in the other person. You want to spark a conversation with someone you just met, push it forward with few questions.
Ask them to tell you about themselves. This is an open-ended question which requires more than a “yes or a no” and lets whoever you’re engaging to choose what to tell you about. They decide what to tell you about and the conversation will flow from there.
Asking “how are you”, is often a lazy way to start a conversation, that most people don’t know. If the other person asks how you are, you can still turn it into an interesting chat. Rather than just saying, “I’m good”, give the other person something to work with. This can be anything. Only a sentence, not a narrative. Just keep it short.
- Use Surroundings As An Advantage:
Try working with what you have to begin a conversation. These are what we refer to as communication starters.
If you find yourself stumbling to think of a question or probably a topic, comment on the surrounding. You’re at the same art show or party as this person. Or maybe you met at a networking event for the same industry. This gives an opportunity to grab free information about the occasion or location.
Look around and pull a starter. Perhaps you met at the same party, then chances are that you were invited by the same person. You can ask “what’s your connection to the host or hostess?”. Or you spot something, you can put it this way, I love the flowers here. They look so bright.
Try inviting the other person to give the input, which can spur a conversation. For example, “what do you think about these flavors? I have never tasted such kind.” Once you open things up like these, you wait for them to land completely before interjecting.
Let’s face it, approaching an acquaintance, trying to network or speaking to a stranger might seem anxiety-inducing, but that shouldn’t be so. Being able to talk is an excellent skill to have. It can lead you to make new friends or help to discover a business opportunity.
Luckily, even though it might seem some people naturally possess good conversation skills, it all takes a bit of consistent practice. You can achieve it! If you’re nervous about the prospect of talking to others, it can be stressful striking a conversation. Relax and take some deep breath. This way, you will be able to start a conversation without stumbling over your words.