By Rob Leonardo,
A conversation is a personal or informal talk that takes place and can make or break a relationship. It can make a career successful. It can make new friends. It can just brighten up another person’s life. It can change the world! If you value time, aim at productivity and contribution, you would want to maximize your conversation to end up being a meaningful one. Here are 10 ways to make a conversation bring impact to you and others.
Talk with purpose
Before starting a conversation, be conscious of what you want to achieve. Knowing your purpose beforehand allows you to direct your conversation on track and never get lost out of the way.
- Is it to get some information?
- To simply kill time while travelling?
- To get to know a person more?
Make the conversation because you want to. If you do not feel like doing it but you feel obliged because of your responsibility, make the effort to do a short talk. If this is to be done out of obligation, you need to motivate yourself into doing it for a certain purpose or incentive. One way of becoming more genuine is asking yourself what it means for you and the other person. Being genuine is first of all what makes a conversation, meaningful.
Choose a good topic
Start a topic that is very timely and appropriate. The starting point has to be depending on your relationship with the person you are talking to and the situation the person or both of you are going through. For example, if you are going to talk to a person whom you know is busy and pressured at that very moment, you can make the person feel better by asking ‘how is it going?’ Starting the conversation with the right topic sets the tone that brings both parties at ease.
Find common interests
Come up with something that will make both of you interested. This pushes the genuineness of your interest while it allows the other person to be drawn more to speak up. Discovering common likes and dislikes opens up a bond between two people. It harnesses a human touch to one’s relationship even if it is at a professional level. A topic that stirs the heart of both parties develops rapport.
Try to continue with an on-going interesting topic
In some occasions, you will find yourself speaking to a person who keeps bringing the conversation to a dead-end. You ask the question, he gives you the answer and period. It can be very challenging. A constant change of topic just because the previous one died immediately, makes both parties start to feel uncomfortable. However, it is fine to move on to a different topic or jump into several if the discussion flow continues and does not leave a dead air at some point. The most important thing is to keep the conversation going.
Put yourself in the shoes of the other person. It further elevates the conversation to a deeper rapport and better understanding of each other. Think how the other person feels at that moment. Feeling how the other person feels helps you to be in his position. Empathy is not just a matter of words but understanding the core of what the other person is saying.
Listen and then validate
One of the most difficult tasks to do in a conversation is really listening. Do not prepare for what to say while the other person is talking. Do not just keep quiet because you want to give the other person a time to talk. The proof that you really listen is to validate your understanding by repeating in your own words (based on your understanding) what was said.
Allow your listener to talk
After you have spoken, give the other person a time to talk. There are some people who like to talk about themselves. If you are one of them, try to be less selfish. Ask the person ‘What about you?’ It is often lack of politeness not to ask back when someone asks how you are for example. A conversation is not a monologue or an interview.
Ensure statements are understood from both sides
There are particular topics or statements that will be hard to understand due to the complexity of the story or simply because the environment is distracting. It could be very tempting to take the statement for granted and go on with the conversation. If you are the one speaking about the complex issue, you need to make it easier for the listener to understand. Provide a quick background, explain the situation or what happened and a bit of the impact. Asking for clarification or further explanation is a way to show your interest in the topic being discussed. It also shows that you are paying attention.
Express real interest in a follow through of what was discussed
When the discussion leads to a recommendation by the other party about a product or person, show an action expression by saying ‘I will keep it in mind’ or ‘Can you write it down for me?’ Leaving a clear output of the discussion such as a note, contact number or a promise, if needed, concludes a happy experience and a better connection you and the other person may look forward to.