Almost all interpersonal relationships – be it friendships, romantic relationships, or professional relationships – begin with casual conversation. So knowing how to start a conversation, keep it alive and close a conversation with class is an essential skill, which fortunately can also be learned. In this article, we will show you how to become casual conversationalists in eight simple steps, so that mastering the feared and often ridiculed petty conversation is child’s play.
1. Finding the right interlocutor
Meeting a person with the gift of the gab and many stories to tell certainly helps. Sometimes you will find yourself sitting next to the right person from the start, other times you will have to go and look for them.
2. Observe body language
Avoid people who are dozing, reading or on the phone. Start a conversation with someone who seems available; Watch her body language and look into her eyes. And after choosing your interlocutor, introduce yourself, don’t worry if you’re sweaty or nervous and don’t think too much about what to say.
3. Start talking
Take a deep breath and say something, whatever. Or better yet, ask a question that requires more than just a yes or no answer. Surely if two people are in the same place at the same time, they will have something in common! So take advantage of this coincidence and here you have found the perfect topic to start a conversation.
4. Why not talk about …
Work, study and hobbies, all topics that always work! To these must be added the chatter about the weather, current events (but stay away from politics and religion), the panorama and music. Or you could talk about cooking or compliment your interlocutor for his clothing. But be careful, avoid turning the conversation into an interrogation and remember to reveal something about yourself too. Another infallible technique is to ask: “What do you do?” or “Why did you choose to become… (indicating your profession)?”
5. Adding the magic phrase
Writer Paul Ford has a very useful piece of advice: When your interlocutor tells you what he does, comment by saying something like: “Really? It must be a very demanding job! ” In this way, the game will be done and you will have reached the goal of each conversation: to make the other person feel important and considered!
6. Don’t forget
Remember to always be polite and that knowing how to listen is more important than speaking continuously. Look the other person in the eye, nod, smile, compliment her (sincerely) and laugh at her jokes, even if they are not funny. Then try to remember the name of your interlocutor and the topics of the conversation and conclude with a couple of personalized notes such as: “Oliver, it was a pleasure to meet you. I will definitely check out that website you recommended… and good luck with your marathon! ”
7. What’s the weather like?
There will certainly be pauses of silence during the conversation that could prove embarrassing. It is perfectly normal for this to happen, so choose another topic and start talking about it. Finally, no one expects a casual conversation to continue indefinitely and so if you have run out of one topic, don’t be afraid to abandon it to move on to the next.
8. Short, concise and straight to the point
It is advisable to leave the conversation before the topic is completely exhausted. The most common ways to interrupt a conversation are: walking away to go to the bathroom, saying that you have to meet a friend before they leave or introduce another person to your interlocutor. If for any reason none of these strategies are viable, say you need to take a bus or resume reading the book you started. However, in any case, do not be too abrupt in saying goodbye.