Common convention considers conversation is an art form, that its practice is free form, good conversation, it is said, flows. That doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t break this art form down to its constituent bits, and make it easy on ourselves. Consider this a checklist to run down in your preparation. These are the most crucial conversation skills to master.
#1 — PREPARATION
You need to have an idea about what you want or need to say in most given situations, and while this may seem difficult, given the fluid, impromptu nature of most conversation, remember it pays to think ahead. Brush up on current events and topics that the people you anticipate conversing with may be interested in.
#2 — CONFIDENCE
Confidence is elementary, but it is absolutely crucial. Believe in yourself, and in what you want to say, and make it show. You accomplish this through body language, through a clear, strong voice, and through eye contact.
#3 — LISTENING
Listen to your partner, don’t just hear – an important thought difficult part of the conversation checklist to keep in mind. Pay attention, absorb what they say, and respond intelligently to their end of the conversation. Active listening is an excellent method to use to stay focused and assure your conversation partner that you are engaged.
#4 — OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS
Use open-ended questions to keep momentum, and the conversation, rolling along. Nothing kills a conversation more quickly than a flat, dry statement of fact or a question that requires only a one-word answer.
#5 — EYE CONTACT
This is crucial. Maintain eye contact. Don’t let your eyes, and with them your interest, wander, or your conversation will soon come to a halt.
#6 — BODY LANGUAGE, THEIRS and YOURS
Remember your posture and stance say a lot more to your partner than your words ever could, so be conscious. Stand with an open, inviting stance and a firm posture, and never converse with your arms crossed. Also, make note of your partner’s body language. A closed stance my indicate that they are not interested in conversing with you.
#7 — TOPICS
Be well-versed in the topics you anticipate discussing. If you can’t tick this off in the checklist, be curious with an open-mind.
#8 — DON’T FORCE IT
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a conversation just isn’t going well. If it’s stumbling, do not force it. Nothing makes a worse impression than stringing along a fruitless conversation.
#9 — CONVERSE, DON’T DEBATE
Save the debates for Internet chat rooms. It is difficult to foster verbal give-and-take when one intends to verbally combat the other.
#10 KNOW WHEN IT’S OVER
Don’t be afraid to walk away when the conversation’s clearly over. Be pleasant and leave cordially with the full confidence of knowing that your mission is accomplished.