I have been stuck in conversations I desperately want to escape from as if the other person has the plague. Everyone knows the family member or work colleague who can only discuss..correction rant about world politics, conspiracy theory, last night’s steak and their favourite cuddly poodle. I have respect for you as a person but the most disturbing disrespect for your conversation. I want conversation with you but let’s be clear, here’s how we can have great conversations.
- Ask people what they’re interested in, whether it be hobbies or their life.
Guess what? People want to tell you about themselves not just listen to you. You’ll find out more about them and if you wait a whole 2-3 minutes they’ll ask you the same question back. Both parties are engaged.
2. Don’t be a bully.
If you’re debating the politics, who will win the game of football or rugby then simply put, agree to disagree. Why do people need to prove themselves out of their own insecurities. Yes, everyone has an opinion, so what? Move on with the conversation and tread lightly about it the next time it comes up.
3. Everyone is a storyteller.
Never ask closed questions to people. You want conversation. Yes? No? Ask them a story about their weekend and they’ll go straight into what they did with the grandkids.
4. Listen and hear instead of giving advice.
This should be an obvious one. If someone is pouring their guts out and throwing their problems at someone else, the last conversation they want to hear is a set of instructions given to them as if they’re sitting on Oprah’s couch. Stop your mouth from giving them the “What you should do is” statements ad listen. One might be surprised at what they’ll say.
5. Stop bragging
Nobody wants to hear how you’ve achieved your New Year’s resolutions in just one day. It’ll get resentful and nasty. Take a step back and repeat what they’re saying in conversation and let them guide it. Be a quiet listener and hear the conversation unfold.