It would seem that manners and proper etiquette are elements of ancient history, however, nothing could be further from the truth. We convey our thoughts and feelings through communication, and it is vital to learn how to effectively do so.
Here are 5 ways anyone can improve their conversational skills:
1.) Eye contact
Have you ever spoke with someone whose eyes landed everywhere else but on you? As if there was something far more interesting just past you? Or out the window? When we give others the gift of eye contact, it shows that we value them as an individual and that we are interested in what they may say. If we want the conversation to progress to any other level, this is the entry gate to proceed through.
When we smile, we immediately put the other person at ease. It’s an investment in friendship. It lets them know you’re happy to be with them. True joy is born from the heart. Some smile and laugh more freely than others, but, remember it requires fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. Having a good sense of humor certainly aids effective communication. Even those not gifted with a natural sense of humor, can learn one or two funny stories.
3.) Read books
Engaging in interesting and meaningful conversation requires some level of information aside from the latest movie. Read books on a variety of topics to expand your interests, knowledge and curiosity. Curious people are interesting people, and interesting people make pleasant conversationalists. They ask questions. They want to know why something occurred.
4.) See Saw
This is my favorite point. Perhaps because I view it as one of the most important. I always tell my children that good conversation is like a see saw (otherwise known as a teeter totter). You have a turn (& go up on the see saw). Then, the other person has a turn (& goes up on the seesaw). It’s a good visual for kids (and adults for that matter). Effective communication takes turns and does not talk over top of another. I talk, you talk. And, we all are happier for it!
5.) Be others focused
No one cares for a self absorbed “know it all”, right? Let others “toot your horn”, but, please don’t toot it yourself! When we display that we are genuinely interested in the other person, it naturally leads to good conversation. People love talking about themselves. And if you can get the other person engaged in discussing their favorite baseball team or hobby, you’ve created a memorable chat.
As with anything of value, practice makes perfect. Productive and compelling conversation is worth every effort. It’s the prime ingredient lasting friendships are made of!