The Lost Art of Conversation
Thanks to advancements in technology and social media, communicating with one another is faster and easier than it’s ever been. In many ways, we are more talkative now than in the past, but all of this talk can get in the way of having real, genuine conversation. Below are a few tips and tricks for mastering the lost (but not forgotten) art of conversation.
Keep it Flowing
When a conversation feels effortless, you can say that it had good flow. Sometimes, this happens automatically—you and the person you are conversing with have a natural connection and the conversation is smooth and comfortable. Other times, trying to hold a conversation with someone can feel like pulling teeth. When this happens, remember to ask questions that invite your partner to speak—a foolproof way to surpass any rough patches.
While it’s important to maintain personal space when holding a conversation (no one likes someone who stands too close when they talk to you), the occasional physical gesture—a touch on the forearm or hand on the shoulder—can show that you are fully engaged and comfortable in the conversation. Maintaining eye contact will have the same effect.
Speaking slowly and deliberately will cause to you sound more professional and eloquent, can allow you to be more effective in getting your point across, and will give you more time to think about your response when in discussion with another person—all keys to a successful conversation. Pausing often will allow both you and your partner to reflect on the conversation in an insightful way.
Don't Be Scared to Get a Little Awkward
Sometimes the best conversations aren’t always the most exciting—at times they can even be dull, full of awkward pauses, topic changes, and interruptions. But allowing for the awkwardness also allows for a real exchange, where conversation participants have the permission to think and react.
The best conversationalists have a wealth of information to draw on. Being able to contribute to a conversation involves educating yourself on relevant topics, world events, and whatever else might come up around the dinner table. If you live under a rock, you won’t have very many worthwhile things to contribute—stay active and aware and you’ll be a more dynamic conversationalist overall.