The gift of gab doesn’t come easily to everyone. We always have the weather as a conversation starter, but that can get pretty predictable — the conversation, not the weather.
Good communicators have an edge. If you want to learn how to command presence by being able to join in any conversation, you may want to put these hints into your back pocket to remedy those awkward silences (which, by the way, are sometimes just fine).
You don’t have to be a walking dictionary, but having a relatively decent command of language is the first step towards good conversation. Saying that you “seen that show on TV the other night” followed by, “did you’s guys catch it?” may not paint you in the most brilliant light.
Learn to listen
Worse than awkward silences are trying to fill them with chatter about yourself. Listen first, talk second is always a good rule. If you listen to your companion, the conversation should flow naturally.
On occasion, adept communicators usually restate what they’ve heard or at least what they believe they’ve heard. When you do this, it lets the other person know you’ve been listening to what they’ve been saying and it will also give them the opportunity of clarifying what they’ve said.
Nix the quick judgement
Rushing to a conclusion about what someone is saying before they’ve had a chance to tell the whole story is usually a mistake. If you’ve used the mirroring technique, chances are you’ll never make this faux pas. Snap judgements aren’t conducive to effortless conversations.
Get your nose in the news
When you at least know something about what’s happening in the world, starting and maintaining a conversation is much simpler. Just remember to keep things light. Stay away from heavy subject matter like politics (unless that’s part of your realm). There are many great things happening in the world these days, too and focusing on the positives may set you and your companion up for having a great feel good day.
Know when to zip it
Having good communication skills also includes knowing when to keep quiet. Some people by nature just aren’t talkers. They like to exchange pleasantries and that’s about it. Take cues from the company you’re in. This is especially true if you’re stuck on a long airplane flight or any other mode of transportation where you’re with strangers. People’s body language will speak loudly and clearly if they want to be left alone.
The bottom line is making the person you’re chatting with feel comfortable. Once that happens, the conversation will usually just flow naturally!