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Learning to Converse

pheromonesWhen it comes to attracting others, you need a strong follow-up as well as a strong start unless you mean to fall flat on your face. You can be both dressed for success and groomed to perfection, but still manage to bore your counterpart to tears unless you have the conversational skills needed to build a real connection. Fortunately, even if you are not one of the few people who have been blessed with natural talent in conversation, it is something that you can pick up by practicing over time.

Whether you are meeting someone face-to-face or not, use these conversational tips to put your counterpart at ease and begin building a real connection:

  • Successful conversations need the participation of more than one person. As a result, you should enter a conversation prepared to talk about both you and your interests, but at the same time, you need to prepare something with which to encourage your counterpart to converse. The easiest method is to consult social media profiles to check out his or her interests, before bringing them up in the natural course of the conversation. However, make sure not to snoop and make sure not to bring up something that is too personal. You want to give your counterpart a reason to participate in the conversation, not scare him or her off.
  • Asking the right questions is one of the most important conversational skills that there is, not least because it can be used to engage your counterpart. After all, most people love to talk about either them or their interests, meaning that a skillfully chosen question can convince them to break through the awkwardness that is part and parcel of a conversation between strangers. Make sure to avoid questions that can be answered using either "Yes" and "No" so that you can get your counterpart to spend a little bit more time talking.
  • That said, you need to build up while you are asking your questions. For example, if you have managed to convince your counterpart to start talking about something that he or she loves, use your follow-up questions to seek clarification for the parts that remain unclear to you. Use them as a chance to learn more about his or her interests, while also showing that you have been paying attention. Likewise, if you want to ask your counterpart about something of a more sensitive nature, use your initial questions to put him or her at ease. In this as in other related matters, proceed with your questions if and only if your counterpart is comfortable with the situation.
  • Sometimes, you will have to enter into a conversation knowing little to nothing about your counterpart. In such situations, the previously stated principles can still be put to excellent use. Start by commenting on a topic of general interest such as the weather, interesting news, and even local events to solicit a response. Be sure to use the information contained in said response to steer the conversation in a direction that will prove interesting to your counterpart.
  • Remember to focus on your counterpart while conversing with him or her. Whether it is important or not, if you miss something, your counterpart will be dissatisfied because it shows both your disinterest and your lack of respect. One trick to remember is to paraphrase your counterpart's statements from time to time. If nothing else, it is an excellent way to sustain the conversation by getting him or her to either confirm, correct, or even elaborate on the statement.
  • You should feel free to disagree if you feel that it is important. After all, obsequious attention can be as odious to most people as no attention at all, meaning that disagreement can be accepted so long as it is not voiced in an antagonistic manner. For example, instead of pointing out what you believe to be an error, mention your commonalities and then move into an elaboration of your position. That said, it tends to be a bad idea to turn a conversation into a contest because you can lose your chance of building a real connection even if you win the argument.
  • Likewise, you should feel free to share humorous stories from time to time in the natural course of the conversation. Keep it to real stories since those tend to come out in a more natural manner. Furthermore, keep it to mainstream forms of humor, unless you are sure that your counterpart will appreciate something more unusual.
  • Finally, you want your conversation to be as natural as possible. Be comfortable with the fact that conversations have a natural rhythm to them, meaning that a comfortable silence is fine as it is. Furthermore, remember that conversational skills are about timing as much as content, meaning that too much thinking can be as bad as too little.

If you feel that you are lacking conversational skills, take some time to practice them. With enough time and practice, you will find the art of conversation coming to you as naturally as breathing.

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