Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with someone, and suddenly the conversation ends with an awkward silence? You panic because you can't think of anything else to talk about. Your face grows red and your brain goes blank, as you grasp for a verbal lifeline to save you from looking like a shuffling, mumbling idiot. It happens to all of us — we meet someone, chat for a few minutes, and then run out of things to say and the conversation begins to stall.
The weather topic has been covered. You've discussed each other's jobs. And you've talked about your kids. The great gift of conversation lies less in displaying it I can t keep a conversation going than in drawing it out of others. He who leaves your company pleased with himself and his own cleverness is perfectly well pleased with you.
When you don't have strategies to keep a flagging conversation alive, it can rob you of the opportunity to get to know other people.
It can also undermine your confidence to initiate a conversation in the first place. It's common to encounter a few bumps when conversing socially, but knowing how to keep a conversation going can help you build meaningful and interesting relationships. As the person is talking and sharing personal information, listen for areas of commonality and shared interests which can open new channels of discussion. When making conversation, we tend to focus on what we I can t keep a conversation going going to say next after the person pauses speaking.
Fearing that awkward silence or eager to get a word in, we fail to really hear what the other person is saying and show them the respect that makes a conversation truly a gift. The reason why so few people are agreeable in conversation is that each is thinking more about what he intends to say than what others are saying. Being an active listener requires taking part in the conversation, and building the rapport between you and your conversation partner. Skilled and active listening requires focused attention on what the other person is saying, using eye contact, affirmative nods, and affirmative words.
It also involves paraphrasing or mirroring what the speaker says to show you understand, as well as asking questions and making appropriate, relevant comments.
Think about a good conversation as a ball bouncing back and forth. Receive what your partner has said, and then add a little bit to it before bouncing the ball back for more.
This back and forth is likely to create a deeper conversation that will last quite some time. In addition to refraining from asking questions that can be answered with one word, always elaborate when someone asks you a simple question.
Maintain the conversation by giving more detail to your answer than the questioner might expect, like offering not just the name of the college you attended but also what you studied or the fraternity or sorority you were a part of. Providing your conversation partner with this extra information gives them more opportunities to relate to your story and ask you something else to continue the conversation.
It increases the likelihood that you and the person you are talking to will connect on some level and throws them a verbal lifeline to keep a conversation going. You may second guess everything you ask your conversation partner, especially if this is the first time the two of you have met.
You might be a bit more stiff and formal with someone you don't know well. It's common to wonder how this person will react to a question or a story, so you may hold or be less of yourself so you don't give the wrong impression or unintentionally offend. To make conversation continue to flow, don't filter your true personality. Just be yourself, and ask good questions that come to mind or say what you are thinking within reason!
The best way to practice making conversations last is by being authentic and open with people who you already know. Maybe you are with a friend or a co-worker who you don't know on a deep level, but you have crossed paths with him or her several times. I can t keep a conversation going the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone a little and talk about some topics you normally wouldn't discuss.
Or ask a deeper question that is a bit more personal or probing. You can generally tell from someone's body language whether or not they welcome more intimate conversation. Of course, don't ask anything inappropriate or controversial, but generally people love to talk about themselves, and they are likely more focused on how they appear to you rather than what you have said.
Being authentic can open up a huge arena of topics and good conversations to have that will help you get over those awkward moments of not know what to say. Rather than asking a specific question, ask your conversation partner to simply tell you more about a topic that they have mentioned. This allows them the opportunity to take the conversation wherever I can t keep a conversation going want and talk about what is most important to them. It also forces them to do a bit of the thinking when it comes to keeping the conversation going and puts the ball back in their court to do the talking.
This buys you a bit of time as well when you are stumped for something to talk about. Asking someone to tell you more about something also shows them that you are interested in what they have to say. If you struggle with being shy or a lack of confidence when it comes to talking to strangers, use these tips to continue the conversation so you will never run out of things to say.
Practice these conversation skills with people you feel comfortable around, so you have more confidence when you enter a setting with new people.
If you know how to skillfully keep the other person talking, you will not have to worry about stumbling on your words or "I can t keep a conversation going" the exact right thing the entire time. Also, be sure to engage in the conversation with great questions, active listening, and authenticity, and you will bypass those awkward silences and uncomfortable moments when your mind goes blank.
I hope you enjoyed these ideas for making conversations. I hope you'll use these techniques on how to keep a conversation going to help you when you're in a social setting. Which conversation strategy was the most inspiring and helpful for you? It would be really great if you could help me spread these ways to keep a conversation going with others.