Posted on: July 26, 2016
Conversations are the foundation of how people interact with one another. Of course body language is a huge factor, but for the majority of the time, what you actually say is what people will remember about you in social interactions. Even though we have conversations with people every day, conversations can be pretty intimidating. The thought of running out of things to say and having to resort to small talk about the weather is something that everyone worries about at some point. The thing is, nobody really wants to talk about the weather. People use it as a conversation topic because it’s a shared experience that everyone can relate to. However, you are an interesting person, and so is whoever you’re talking with….so how do you cut through the small talk and keep a conversation going without mentioning next week’s forecast? Let’s get into it.
One of the biggest reasons that people tend to switch to small talk topics is because they are afraid of expressing who they really are. Cultural rules tend to make people feel like they need to hide what’s really inside when talking to strangers. However, as we said before, you’re an interesting person, and you’ve got plenty to talk about. Be confident in whatever your interests are, and don’t be afraid to share it! People respond to other people’s passions, and once you start talking about whatever it is you’re passionate about, the conversation will flow naturally. So maybe you’re a huge computer geek and you’re building your first computer. The next time someone strikes up a conversation with you on the bus, don’t be afraid to tell them all about your current project. People will accept you once you accept yourself, so embrace your passions!
Another huge thing that causes people to resort to small talking is the fear of awkward silences. The thing is, the silence is only as awkward as you make it. Most people panic when a conversational lull hits, leaving them with no escape other than to mention how bad the rain has been recently. Don’t panic. If you run out of things to say, just let the conversation sit for a bit without worrying. Your mind will come up with something to talk about so much easier if you aren’t panicking about the “awkwardness” of the situation. Who says that every second of a conversation has to be filled with talking? Just like in music, the empty space in the conversation is what creates the rhythm.
When talking with new people especially, people oftentimes get hung up on not expressing their stance on certain topics (so as to not start conflict with the other person). However, everyone believes something, and no two people in the world have the exact same beliefs in every regard. You are the only you. The only one who has your exact perspective on certain subjects, is well…you. Because of that, you have so much to teach people, and learn from people. Being open to sharing your ideas and beliefs can seriously help you to skip past the small talk and cut right to the good stuff.
Sharing your opinions goes hand in hand with being open to other opinions. If all you do is share your opinions without thoughtfully considering the opinions and beliefs of others as well, you create more of a lecture than a conversation. If you start a conversation believing that you and the other person both have something that you can teach one another, not only will your conversations be deeper, you’ll probably actually learn something!
Stories are a great way to create a connection with people. Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of human entertainment. When you hear a story, your mind instantly creates a picture of the scene, what the characters described look like, what their voices sound like, and all sorts of other aspects. Being able to tell stories is a great tool to get people interested in what you’re saying. This is basically all comedians do; they tell stories and people listen. Now, I’m not saying you need to be Kevin Hart or Jimmy Fallon to get people to talk to you. However, the next time you’re talking to your Uber driver, consider whipping out a story of something funny that happened to you last week to keep the conversation going.
We hope these tips helped you out! For even more conversation practice, download Know & Tell! It’s a free app that gives you great questions for you to ask and answer with another person. Try it out for free!
Posted in: Casual
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