A meaningful conversation is the best way to build a connection with someone, but simply conjuring up such a conversation is not always easy—especially if you’re shy by nature. With that in mind, here are four ways to become a better conversationalist.
Express genuine interest
It’s difficult for anyone to hold a meaningful conversation when one party or both shows disinterest. It’s rude and makes others feel like what they say doesn’t matter to you. The proper etiquette of engaging with others includes expressing enthusiasm and being mentally present the entire time. If you find that your mind wanders frequently, it might be time to hit up someone else.
When you talk to someone, especially about something personal going on in your life, it’s important to feel safe and secure. The second we feel misunderstood, we’re quick to build our walls up and hesitate to break them down. You wouldn’t want to do that to someone else. If someone opens up to you, it’s crucial to withhold your judgments and keep an open mind. Imagine telling someone about your family or about going back to school, topics that could be vulnerable to talk about, only to receive judgment. It’s not likely you’ll confide in that person again.
Ask meaningful questions
To create back-and-forth engagement, ask meaningful questions that will help you get to know the other person better. Learn about what goals they’re after, what means the most to them, what motivates them to do better, etc. Think about questions you’d like someone to ask you and bring those to the conversation.
Listen to understand
If you’re only looking to argue, it’s a surefire way to turn people off from continuing a conversation and starting a new one in the future. Instead of trying to prove your own point, listen and try to understand where your conversation partner is coming from. Different life experiences create different types of people, and it’s this diversity that makes the world go round. Learn to embrace varying points of view by stepping into someone else’s shoes. When there’s some mutual understanding between two parties, the conversation will certainly flow better.