How to talk to people is a skill that can be learned. It’s not something that comes naturally to everyone. Some people are shy and find it difficult to start a conversation with a stranger. Others can talk easily, but don’t know how to keep the conversation going.
If talking to people is anxiety-inducing or difficult for you, the good news is that it’s totally possible to get better at it, and it doesn’t have to be a painful process.
Learning how to talk just by making some simple changes to the way you approach others and carry on conversations, you’ll start to notice that talking to people feels more natural and even enjoyable!
When it comes to talking to people, one of the most important things is to be confident in yourself.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be the loudest person in the room or always have something witty to say; rather, it means that you should approach others with an air of confidence and self-assurance. This will put them at ease and make them more likely to want to talk to you.
The ability to talk is a valuable skill. How you talk – and what you say – can make a big difference in your life.
In this article, we will discuss some tips on how to start and maintain a conversation with people. We’ll show you some easy ways to strike up conversations, keep them going, and make people feel at ease with your body language.
Starting a Conversation
The art of communication includes many skills. One of them is the ability to speak effectively, which involves knowing how to properly and efficiently express oneself in a conversation.
However, there are times when the most difficult aspect of interacting with others in determining how to begin. This might be particularly intimidating if you want to talk with someone you haven’t met previously.
For example, if you’re in line at your local coffee shop, you might say to the individual in front of you, “What do you recommend? I’ve never had any of their unique cocktails before.”
You may also offer your thoughts on the matter. Express, “Isn’t it nice out today?” If the individual answers in a positive manner, you may offer additional, more precise remarks.
Making a remark about the individual you wish to converse with is another appealing topic. You might say, “I really like your bag.”
Talk With Someone You Know
Perhaps you’d like to chat with someone you’ve met, but you’re not sure how to start. One useful method is to inquire about something personal about the other person. Questions are a wonderful way to get the conversation going.
If you want to talk with a coworker in the cafeteria, start by asking questions. Try saying, “How was your weekend? Was it nice out?”
Maybe you’d want to get to know your new next-door neighbor better. When she pulls her mail, says, “How are you coping with your new neighborhood? Please let me know if there is a decent pizza joint I can suggest.”
Talk With Strangers
Look for someone who isn’t distracted and has a pleasant expression. If you’re waiting in line and someone makes eye contact with you, give them a smile and start up a conversation.
It’s usually a good idea not to attempt to start up a conversation with someone who is engaged in conversation with someone else or is otherwise preoccupied.
Near the food table or bar is a wonderful place to start a conversation at a party. These items, for example, can serve as good conversation starters, such as “Have you tried the spinach dip?” or “Can you show me how to use this wine opener?”
If you’re having trouble mingling at a party, go to the kitchen. This is frequently a social gathering space, and by assisting in the mixing of beverages or distributing snacks, you may become part of the crowd.
The same principles apply when it’s time to approach a coworker. Wait until they are not obviously involved with someone else. When it’s lunchtime, now is the time to begin a discussion.
Keep it Simple
In order to start talking to someone, you don’t need a wonderful opening line. You might begin by saying “Hello” or “How are you?” Others will frequently take it from there and continue the discussion.
You may express yourself in a simple manner. Tell the individual next to you, “I’m going to be sore later after this hard spinning session,” after a tough spinning class.
You’re initiating the conversation with minimal words, but you’re letting the other person assist you in getting things started. It also takes some of the burdens off your shoulders to come up with something witty to say.
It is critical not to make the other individual feel embarrassed when attempting to begin a conversation.
When engaging in small talk, many individuals have a propensity to babble or speak anxiously. This might result in the typical social problem of over-sharing.
If you’re not talking privately to someone you know well, it’s better to avoid disclosing personal information.
For example, don’t attempt to start a conversation by telling your casual acquaintance the results of your most recent checkup at your gynecologist’s office.
When you reveal personal information, many people are uneasy. The checker at the grocery store may not want to hear that your adolescent daughter is having difficulty in school.
When you’re starting a discussion, avoid subjects that might be delicate. People are better at conversing with questions and stories than they are monologuing.
When Not to Speak
There may be times when silence seems uncomfortable. It’s likely that you’ll want to fill the void with small talk. There are times, however, when it is better to keep quiet.
You might want to chat with your seatmate if you are bored on a flight. However, if she is giving you certain social signals, find another method to pass the time.
Someone who is avoiding making eye contact is signaling that she doesn’t want to talk. Someone absorbed in reading or listening to headphones is probably inclined to stay quiet as well.
Maintaining a Conversation
Once you’ve started the conversation, there are several things you may do to keep it going. Asking questions is a wonderful technique to continue the discussion. Experiment with asking the other person to perform something simple for you.
You might also say, “Excuse me, can you remind me what time the early dismissal is tomorrow?” to a fellow mother who is dropping off her kid at school.
You might seek input from your coworker. “Brad, your PowerPoints always appear so professional,” you may say. “Would it be possible for you to give me some pointers?”
If you’re on a date with someone, you might inquire about “some of your pet peeves” or “something that would surprise others.”
Use Open-ended Questions
It’s a fantastic method to start up a conversation. However, open-ended inquiries are the key to maintaining the discussion going. Ask questions that necessitate more than a simple yes or no answer.
Instead of, “How was your trip to Phoenix?” say, “I recall you mentioning that you were going on a trip. What sort of activities did you do on your holiday?” This will allow for more description.
After the first response, continue asking questions. If the individual states, “We played a lot of golf,” you might ask, “What’s your handicap? Do you know of any great courses? I’d want to play better if I had one.”
You may also convert compliments into questions. For example, you might say, “I adore the dress you’re wearing. How do you find such wonderful things?”
People’s recollections of their high school days can be quite entertaining and informative. Although it is feasible to use this information in a straightforward manner, I like to think outside the box when possible.
If you try to force a conversation, it will likely be awkward. Instead, talk about something you’re interested in. If you’re faking it, it’ll reflect on your face.
Make a conversation with someone who shares your interest at a dinner gathering. You might say, “Mike, I hear you just acquired a new bike. I enjoy going on long excursions.”
Try chatting to another parent about the new coach when you’re at your daughter’s soccer game. For example, “I think Haley is responding particularly well to the additional practice time. How are Mary and her schedule?”
You may get the impression that you’re more at ease with how things are going after a few minutes of chatting. However, you must still try to make the conversation flow effortlessly.
It’s critical to know how to avoid saying things that would make the other person uncomfortable when you want to be a good conversationalist.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the adage that you should avoid talking about politics or religion in social situations. When you’re in a multicultural group, it’s wise to follow this advice.
Avoid boring people. Don’t give a lengthy, detailed description of your favorite reality show or your cat’s health, for example. Allow others to take part in the discussion by allowing them to do so.
Strike the proper tone. Small talk should, in most cases, be pleasant. After all, you want people to like you. We’re all naturally inclined to be nice individuals. When you’re unsure what to say, look for something cheery to say.
For example, you might remark, “Wow, we’ve had a lot of rain recently. At the very least, we’re likely to have some gorgeous spring blooms!”
It’s perfectly acceptable to sympathize with a bad scenario. Simply try to make the best of it. “Bummer, we’re going to be stuck working late tonight. Want to grab something to eat later? I know a fantastic pizza shop near me.”
During most conversations that go beyond a few minutes, you will almost certainly address several topics. Prepare to transition away from your ice-breaking question if the discussion continues.
Pay attention to current events and popular culture to stay up-to-date. You’ll always have something to say about everything.
“Did you see any of the Best Picture nominees this year?” You might also say, “Did you watch any of the films up for Best Picture this year? I really liked Spotlight.”
Prepare to shift the conversation. Say things like, “Oh, your narrative reminds me of my vacation to Greece. Have you ever been there?” This approach will aid in the natural flow of the discussion.
Reach Out to Other People
The fewer people who are speaking in a discussion, the less pressure you will feel. Take steps to get your group members involved.
For example, if you’re grabbing a meal at the cafeteria at work, ask your coworker who’s looking for a seat if she’d like to join Tim and me. Say, “Hey, Lucy! Would you want to sit with Tim and me?”
This is something you can also do in social situations. Perhaps you’re attempting to make conversation with a friend at a cocktail party.
If you notice someone standing alone nearby, invite them into your group. Say, “Incredible! This shrimp dish is fantastic. Have you had a chance to eat it yet?”
It is both courteous and beneficial to include others in your discussion. The more people who are present, the more topics you’ll be able to discuss.
Be a Good Listener
It’s critical to listen as well as talk. To be a competent conversationalist, you must practice active listening. You may tell others that you are paying attention and engaged while listening.
Offer non-judgmental comments such as “That’s fascinating.” You may also ask, “More please,” to encourage the other person to continue telling his or her tale.
To demonstrate that you’re paying attention, you may use a technique called echoing. Say, “Amazing that you’ve visited every single country in Europe.”
When you are having a conversation, your body language can be just as important as the words you say.
Body language refers to the nonverbal signals that we use to communicate. According to experts, these nonverbal signals make up a huge part of daily communication.
From our facial expressions to our body movements, the things we don’t say can still convey volumes of information.
Understanding body language is important, but it is also essential to pay attention to other cues such as context. In many cases, you should look at signals as a group rather than focusing on a single action.
A smile may be the most powerful way to communicate. This is an especially wonderful method to interact with someone you don’t know well.
Smile at someone at the dog park. If you see your dogs playing together nicely, look over and congratulate that poodle’s owner. You come across as more friendly.
Smiling is another approach to showing support. If one of your coworkers stops by your desk to tell you a story, smiling at her shows that you are interested in what she has to say.
Make Eye Contact
When speaking to someone, keep your gaze focused on them. This demonstrates that you are interested in the conversation. It also indicates that you are attentive and considerate of what is being said.
Examine the other person’s eyes to discover their feelings. People’s emotions are reflected in their eyes, such as boredom, anger, or love.
Don’t fixate on others. It’s not necessary to focus entirely on your friend’s eyes. You may also allow your gaze to go all around without forcing yourself to look only at him or her.
Nod Your Head
One of the most efficient non-verbal signals you can give is a simple head nod. Nodding your head may communicate a variety of things. It indicates that you comprehend what someone is talking about, for example.
Q What does it mean for a person to nod their head? A Nodding of your head indicates agreement. It’s also a way to show support for what is being said.
Do not be a bobblehead. Do not nod continuously, as it will negate the sincerity of the movement.
Build Your Confidence
It’s easy to convey nervousness or anxiety via body language. It can be frightening to speak with others, especially if you are introverted. One of the most effective methods to boost your conversation confidence is to be ready for a variety of situations.
If you know you’ll meet new people at a party and want to prepare some talk topics, consider this.
If you’re going to a bowling party as a guest, make sure you know a good story about your past that involves couples bowling.
Practice. Every day, try to talk to someone new. It may be a stranger on the street or a classmate at school. Begin and finish conversations over and over again.
When it comes to approaching a romantic interest, having self-assurance is crucial. After you’ve found an opening line that works for you, try it out on the individual you like.
For example, you might inquire, “The music during spin class always makes me feel like dancing. Do you know of a good place to hear live music around here?” Make eye contact and speak pleasantly with this in mind.
How to Talk to People – Conclusion
Small talk is a critical part of life and building relationships. It’s what helps people get to know each other, establishes meaningful connections, and lays down the foundation for great long-term relationships.
The term “small talk” is actually a complete misnomer because of its huge impact on forming relationships and developing unshakeable confidence.
As such, it takes a lot more care and nuance than just getting right down to the point. The key is realizing that confidence and the ability to carry a good conversation are skills, and like any other skill they can be learned, honed, and mastered.
With a little practice, anyone can learn how to make small talk confidently and effectively. So don’t be afraid to jump into those conversations – you might just be surprised at how easy it is once you get started.