23 TIPS AND TRICKS TO HELP YOU MASTER THE ART OF CONVERSATION
Make eye contact. People are insecure by nature. We always wonder if we’re boring a person, if they really want to speak to us, if what we’re saying makes sense. Eye contact eliminates this doubt. If you look a person in the eye, it signals that you not only hear what they’re saying but are interested in it. If you have to look away do it slowly. This reinforces your interest and enjoyment of what you’re hearing.
Look at them even if someone else is speaking. Want to make someone love you? Turn them into the center of your world. You don’t have to announce your undying love or slay dragons. You just have to continue to look at them despite what is going on around you. That person will suddenly feel like the most attractive and dynamic person in the room.
Don’t fidget. It ruins your credibility. We equate stillness with integrity. Those that can look us in the eye and simply relate a piece of information are always believed over those that try to tell us something while scratching their elbow or squirming in their seat. Even if you are believed, you probably won’t be seen as an authority figure the way the still person is.
Small talk is not about words; it’s about melody. A good conversation mirrors a dance. The people participating are in sync. If the person that you are speaking to is calm and relaxed, you should be too. Match their energy and the conversation will move much more fluidly.
There’s value in slips of the tongue. People tell you what they want to talk about without realizing that they are doing it. We can’t help it. We naturally want to talk about things that are pleasing to us and constantly introduce them into conversation. Focus on these moments and use them to your advantage. You don’t have to know what to talk about. You have to know how to listen to what is being said to you and know when to introduce those slips into conversation.
Keep the focus on them. People love to talk about themselves. Our favorite topic as humans is always ourselves. We want to feel like we matter. We want to feel like someone hears us and cares. Use this to your advantage. Always find a way to refocus the conversation on the person you are speaking to. You will quickly become their favorite person to speak to.
Know what’s happening in the world. Don’t want to talk about you? Don’t know what to talk about at all? Don’t worry. There’s a whole world out there teeming with events that are perfect for conversation. Not only does knowing what’s happening outside of your own bubble give you something to discuss, it makes you appear more intelligent.
Don’t be delicate. Call things by their names. The goal is to subconsciously position yourself as the equal of the person that you’re speaking to. Hopefully, the person you’re speaking to has money. A lot of it. People with money don’t mince words. They don’t have time. Instead they state what they want, what they’re thinking as directly and with as few words as possible. This doesn’t mean that they’re crass. But they don’t have time to cushion mundane things in a way that doesn’t offend the faint hearted. Mirror them. It isn’t the little girls room. It’s a restroom, a bathroom. Use your words. Use the right words.
Don’t make jokes at another person’s expense. People love to laugh. People love jokes. People do not love to be laughed at. Don’t be fooled if they laugh along with you. We want to spend time with people who make us feel better about who we are not those who point out our flaws in the hopes of getting a laugh. If you must make fun of someone, make fun of yourself. It shows that you don’t take yourself seriously and that you’re human and relatable.
Shut them up. Sometimes men insist on asking the same question over and over again despite knowing that the question is something that makes you uncomfortable. This is easily handled. Repeat your answer in the exact same tone of voice every time any variation of the question is asked. The key is to use the same intonation. Any fluctuations in tone indicate that he’s hit a sore spot and may be making progress towards an answer he likes. Use your voice as a brick wall. Eventually he’ll move on.
Sound like an expert on their job or hobby. This is useful if you know a little about the person ahead of time. It’s also incredibly simple. Learn 2 insightful questions about their career or hobby and ask them. Learn the most annoying question that outsiders ask and avoid it.
Read the things that they read. If you’re the lucky girl that continually attracts hedge fund managers, learn their field. You don’t have to know it as well as they do. But your value rises exponentially when you can show that you have more than a surface understanding of what’s happening in their field. Pick up a newspaper or a specialty magazine and read a few articles.
Mirror them. If you’re ever in a place where you aren’t sure of the etiquette, mirror the person you are with. Others may judge you but he won’t. If he judged you, he’d be judging himself and that is something we just don’t do. Mirror his movements in conversation too. If he talks with his hands, talk with yours. If he moves his entire body to emphasize a point, don’t sit stock still. We speak to others the way we prefer to be spoken to.
It’s not “you and me”. It’s “we”. Make him forget that you are two individuals. You are a unit facing the world, seeing the world, together. It starts simply. When you speak about the weather, you don’t want to say “It’s been sunny outside hasn’t it?”. Instead, try “we’ve been having great weather. How have you been enjoying it?”. Everything leads back to the two of you as a team. Throw in we, our, and us into your conversation as much as possible.
Make them earn your smile. Women who don’t smile easily are viewed as powerful. It also puts the man in the position of trying to find things to say that please you. We want him to be interested in earning your approval. We want to make him work. A small quirk of the lips can be used as often as you like. But save those pearly whites for the right moment.
If they show pride, you give praise. We are all children at heart. Nothing makes us feel better than a pat on the back and a “well done”. We want to know that our accomplishments are seen and appreciated no matter how small they are. We are always looking for someone who can lay our insecurities to rest. Be that person. In conversation, if a person says something and then pauses and looks at you significantly, they are waiting for the applause. Be there to give it to them. You do not have to think what they did was impressive. You have to be there ready to dispense a pat on the back. We continuously go back to those that make us feel good about our selves. Handing out compliments like candy is a great way to become that person.
Learn how to take a compliment. There is a way to accept compliments that conditions a person into wanting to give them. Turn their compliment to you into a way to compliment them. He said he liked your shoes? If you respond with “Thank you so much. I love how you always notice the little details about me. It’s so refreshing.” His chest will puff with pride. He will associate complimenting you with feeling positively about himself.
When you’re on the phone, learn to verbalize your actions. I hate talking on the phone. I can’t read a book and talk. I can’t listen to Rihanna and talk. But depending on your field, you’re going to have to talk on the phone. Remember that he can’t see you. Your eye contact, your body language, they are of no help here. You’ll have to turn those actions into words. You can’t nod but you can say, “that makes sense” “I understand”. “That’s so interesting” “Really?” and “Tell me more” replace eye contact.
Make an entrance. The first part of the conversation happens well before you open your mouth. Sometimes it happens before you’ve even laid eyes on them. When you enter a room, have your head up and your shoulders down. You belong there as much as anyone else. Be dramatic. Pause in the entrance and survey the room slowly. Allow your eyes to travel from one said of the room to the other. You may feel silly at first and wonder if anyone has even spotted you. I guarantee you, someone will.
Strike first. There’s a man that looks like he can make your financial dreams come true. Don’t shoot him a shy smile and scurry off to the corner. Walk up to him confidently and say, “I’m Nadia. You look like an amazing person to talk to. You don’t mind if I sit here do you?”. You’ve complimented him, introduced yourself, and wormed your way into his evening in less than 10 seconds. Congratulations.
Keep your body open. Not quite bold enough to walk up to a stranger? That’s okay, we’ll get there. You can instead invite him to come talk to you without saying a word. Use your body. Again, good posture is key here. Don’t slouch, or close your body off by clutching a purse or crossing your arms. Keep your body relaxed and open. Bonus points if you can find a way to rest or stand with your inner wrist and palms visible.
Remember their events. Even the trivial ones. Everything is an event to us. You only have to turn to Instagram to find proof of this. You can find posts of everything that occurs in a person’s day from their breakfast to their choice of nail polish. Even the most mundane things hold significance to the person they’re happening to. Remember these small things and bring them up in conversation. You will be amazed at how much more admiration you’ll receive just because you can remember and express an interest in the small things.
Don’t notice the little things. There are no bloopers. Notice the trivial events but don’t notice the trivial mistakes. He spilled a glass of water. Mop it up with a few napkins but keep talking to him as if it didn’t happen. People are more at ease when they know they don’t have to watch their every move around you.