Developing your Conversation Skills
Conversation isn’t always as hard as it seems. Its part skill, part art and part practice. Once you’ve absorbed the following tips you’ll find out pretty quickly how easy having a great conversation can be. The bonus is, the more you do it, the better you’ll become. If you practice the following tips you will not only be a good conversationalist, but you’ll become a good conversationalist almost automatically just by using these four pointers.
If some of these seem a little obvious, it’s because they are. Sometimes it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. The pointers presented here will give you everything you need to walk outside and strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. It’s that easy!
Pointer #1: Get confident
Why? B.E.C.A.U.S.E! This isn’t some goofy mantra, this is the coolest acronym you’re likely to come across. How do I know this? I invented it myself. Because you look confident, because you feel confident, and because you act confident. What could it mean?
- B – Body language
- E – Eye contact
- A – Articulate
- U – Undeterred
- S – Smile
- E – Enthusiasm
When you use BECAUSE, you look, feel and act more confident naturally – because you will be. You will make a good first impression and leave a lasting impression. Its pretty self explanatory and you’re probably kicking yourself for not thinking of it yourself. Nevertheless, let’s go through the basics.
Non verbal communication is important; especially for first impressions. Good posture creates confidence. Stand up straight, sit up straight. Be alert and look alive, you will feel more energetic and confident. This automatically make you sound more confident. For a ridiculously obvious visual, compare Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel with McBain.
Good eye contact conveys confidence, interest, and openness. Lack of eye contact tends to show distrust and a lack of interest. It’s a fine line, too much and it becomes staring and makes people nervous or uncomfortable, not enough it makes you look bored or distracted. A good rule is when speaking maintain eye contact approx 50% of the time. When listening try for 70%, use your intuition and gauge it by the situation.
Calm, cool and collected. Cool as a cucumber. Take a few deep breaths and relax. Don’t get stressed or bent out of shape, maintain a calm and relaxed attitude and your confidence will quadruple.
Speak clearly and enunciate. A mumbling, rambling, wispy voice sounds shy and weak. You want to send a message; your voice is filled with life. It’s warm and friendly, just like you. Try not to speak too quickly and stumble over your words, this is where your newfound calmness comes into play. To be calm and enthusiastic is the essence of cool.
No matter what happens, don’t let it put you off. You see your ideal dream fantasy mate standing alone, just waiting for you to come over and strike up a conversation. You walk over and accidentally trip over a poodle, fall into a crowd of old ladies, drop your wallet in a punch bowl and get slapped in the face by an angry monkey, keep going! It can’t get worse, and even if it does you’ve got something to talk about. Just keep moving forward, don’t be put off by little things. Take it a step farther and be unconventional, unfaltering and understanding.
Smiling is a powerful tool, try it right now. Let a big smile stretch across your face. It feels good doesn’t it? A smile makes you look and feel friendly and approachable. It keeps the mood warm and disarms people. Not only that, its contagious.
Enthusiasm is as contagious as smiling. When you meet someone, make the most of it. Say you’re glad to meet them, and mean it. Show interest in what they say. Answer questions with the same enthusiasm, no one word answers. Don’t be a phony, be alive and interested. When you speak put some dynamics in your voice, don’t speak in a boring monotone. Enthused, engaging, easy to talk to and be with.