Conversation Success: 5 Golden Rules

Published: 30th July 2012
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How can you enhance conversation success so that you will easily start chatting with others? How can you break free from shyness and quickly gain confidence in any situation in just seconds?

Some people make this seem so easy. They seem cool and confident and have an easy conversation style while others seem awkward and hesitant. Connecting through others is a great way to build confidence. Follow these 5 golden rules for being a good conversationalist and you will never feel shy and awkward again:

Golden Rule #1: Look for opportunities to get into a conversation with people. Every day you interact with people in all sorts of ways. Think about the coffee you bought on the way to work and while you were waiting for it, did you ask the assistant how they were? What about the last time you bought something from the convenience store; how about while you were waiting for the bus or the elevator. And don't forget about your colleagues at the water cooler. The more you take these opportunities to start conversations the easier it becomes.

Golden Rule #2: Be friendly. Simply greeting everyone with a smile while looking directly at them will create an opportunity to start a conversation. Classic conversation starters for these introductory conversations focus on topics such as how people are feeling, the weather, perhaps the biggest sporting events.

Golden Rule #3: Be well informed about latest news and sporting events. These can be great ice-breakers. Follow through on a great smile with a great opening line like "Did you see the game on the weekend? How about that then?" If you keep up with what is happening in the world, not only will you be able start great conversations but you will also be able to follow other people's and you will also be able to take part in those around you with ease.

Golden Rule #4: Maintain focus. Keeping focussed on the other person through good eye contact shows the other person you are genuinely interested in what they are saying. Turning your body towards them, nodding and making small noises are all ways to indicate your focus. It is rude to look around the room or away from the person whilst they are talking to you.

Golden Rule #5: Give and take. Conversation success is based on what both people get out of it. This means developing your listening skills and pacing yourself. Don't rush. Just waiti until the person pauses and then ask questions about what the person is saying. Don't jump in. A natural pause will open up. At the same time, it is important that you do not monopolize the conversation by talking too much about yourself. So when you hear something that you know a lot about, don't over-power the other person. You will know if you are doing this too much as you will soon find yourself alone. Anyway, its much more interesting to hear what others have to say. And you never know you might find out a whole lot you never knew before.

The more you practice the better you become at social situations. If you are about to go to a gathering, it pays to prepare. You can do this easily by taking any opportunity to engage in conversations with people you meet throughout the day as described earlier and you can take 30 minutes or so to familiarize yourself with the current topics of interest in the news. A note of caution though, it pays to stick to light, interesting topics which are not controversial. For example, you will want to be able to converse about what is happening in the Olympics rather than the more risky subjects of politics or religion. Remember it helps to be up with the latest in celebrity news too. The more you have in your repertoire the more likely you are to be able to find common ground with the people around you.

If you are shy or lacking in confidence, these golden rules will put you on the road to conversation success. The old adage it won't happen overnight but it will happen is true. When you are out and about or at social gatherings, get into having fun by engaging with others and soon you'll look back and wonder what held you back so long. Have fun and good luck.


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