The keys to our style of social skills are mostly learned in childhood. We promptly adopt a style of communication that accommodates our own level of comfort. Few of us actually make conscious choices about how we wish to communicate. Even if we have the communication skills of someone who was raised by wolves, we have the ability to can learn to be an engaging conversationalist.
Learn How to be Confident and Captivating:
1. Be a better listener.
- Listening is more than half of any useful and effective conversation.
- If you can master listening, you are more than halfway home.
- I have written many time about active listening, but here are the basics:
- Give your absolute, full attention to the other person and to the conversation.
- Look at the other person, not you phone. You are not really paying attention if your eyes are fixed elsewhere.
- Demonstrate some interest in what is being said to you.
- Ask pertinent questions.
- If you ask interesting questions, you probably will not have to speak much at all.
- Focus on open-ended questions. If you ask someone whether they like the color blue, the answer will simply be a yes or no. But, if you were to ask instead about their favorite vacation, and they will probably talk for hours.
- Some people really love talking about themselves. Just ask a few questions and step back.
2. Honor and Respect what is said.
- You do not have to agree with everything, but y0u can listen.
- During a conversation is not the time to judgmental or critical.
- You can expect similar treatment in return.
- Learn to treat people the way you expect to be treated.
- Use the conversation as a time to share and to learn.
3. Ask for Input.
- Few things are more meaningful to people than the request for an opinion.
- This speaks volumes, and says that you trust them and value their judgment.
4. Be up to date.
- Know something about the latest news and trends.
- Have you seen a new movie? What did you think about it?
- Do you have an opinion on global warming?
5. Practice with the most distressed looking person in sight.
- At large social events, there will always someone standing off by themselves.
- This person will appreciate the opportunity to be part of the action.
- You will also have a chance to warm up repartee skills in a non-threatening situation.
6. It is not that serious. Chill.
- No one expects us to have the skills of a talk-show host.
- Just be yourself and give your best effort.
- If you find yourself getting anxious or nervous, ask an open-ended question and use the time to recover.
7. Develop your own Pattern
- Have a pattern to follow.
- Have in mind a set of conversational steps memorized and you will rarely run out of things to say.
- Here is one strategy:
- Say “hello” in your own way and comment on something they are wearing. It may be a cool pair glasses, a fitness band, or the color of their shoes.
- Next, make a comment about something, or someone, interesting in the room. Maybe the artichoke dip is the best you have ever tasted. Or the guy in the red shirt looks just like the mayor.
- Ask about their profession. Follow up with several additional questions. What do they like the most about their job? How long have they been working there? Keep peeling the layers off the onion.
- Inquire about their education, hobbies, how they spend their free time. Find some common ground and allow the conversation to continue to develop naturally.
- If the conversation is dying, exit gracefully, and move on to your next victim.
8. Give gracious compliments.
- For a compliment to be effective, it must be genuine.
- Even the least egocentric of us loves to receive a heartfelt compliment.
- Try to give one, honest compliment per conversation.
- You might even get a few compliments thrown your way in return.
Ready to be the life of the next party?
Social skills can be learned and developed.
Socializing does not have to be super complicated.
With a little work, time and effort, you can see significant improvement in your conversational skills.