How to keep a conversation going

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Conversations are essential to human interactions. The most genuine ones are comfortable, free-flowing and fun. The thing about conversations is, it is easy to lose track, lose interest and be at a loss for things to say. How to keep a conversation going has three basic parts: listening, processing and talking.

Part 1: Listening

1. Listening to what the other person is saying will give you an idea of:

  • What the he or she wants to talk about (hobbies, job, problems, etc)
  • Their background (family, heritage, experiences, etc)
  • How they feel
  • How they think

2. Listen/Read between the lines

  • Hear out verbal cues of sarcasm, jokes and expressions of emotion
  • Look at body language to tell you the level of interest. (Learn more about body language in the tips below)

Part 2: Processing

1. While listening intently, think of things that relate to what they are saying.

2. Processing means to take their cues (thoughts and feelings) and combining it with your own.

Part 3: Talking

Talking or responding to the other person can take the following forms:

  • Asking questions about what the other person just said

-Avoid asking questions that are answerable by yes or no

-Ask a question from what that person is interested in that you are also interested in knowing more about

  • Sharing your own experience or feelings about the same topic

Tips:

  • Conversations are give and take situations. Listen as much as you talk. Hogging the conversation is a total turn off.
  • In as much as you avoid asking yes/no questions, do not answer with yes/no and one liners too.
  • Show enthusiasm and confidence when you talk
  • Be aware of current events, they make for great conversation starters and they’re better than talking about the weather.
  • Spot the following signs of positive body language and show them too:

-smiling

-hand gestures and relaxed shoulders

-good eye contact

-nodding and leaning forward (shows interest in the conversation)

  • Avoid the following non-verbal cues:

-staring (can be creepy or show the signs of zoning out)

-fidgeting (shows unattention)

-crossing of arms or legs (shows disinterest or hostility)

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