Quill Shift’s founder, Ayanna Coleman, receives compliments consistently about how she interacts and engages with people in her day-to-day life that, many times, lead to lifelong friendships and mutually beneficial business relationships.
From strangers stopping her on the street to pay her a compliment that turns into a full-blown conversation to walking into a conference room and leaving with the next week packed with meetings, she knows firsthand how to make lively conversation enrich her personal and professional life.
Oral communication plays a big part in how we learn about each other and draw closer together, and Ayanna has pinpointed below some simple, authentic ways that enable her to start and create better dialogue and memorable conversations.
Easy Methods for Improving Your Conversation Skills
1. Spend plenty of time listening.
You may find that you need to talk less. Balance the amount of time you spend talking and the time you spend listening. Give others a chance to contribute.
2. Offer sincere compliments.
Heartfelt compliments will warm up any exchange. Let people know that you recognize their good qualities and the positive impact they make.
3. Watch how others respond.
Try to be observant as you listen or speak. If people are fidgeting or yawning, it could be a sign to change subjects or draw your chat to a close.
4. Search out compatible people.
Even if you’ve got some unusual interests and views, you can always find kindred spirits. Find a Stranger Things lover who will commiserate over the last season or a hiking enthusiast to exchange adventure stories with.
5. Provide background information.
People will be more receptive to unfamiliar subjects if you start at the beginning. Fill in the facts so it’s easier to follow what you’re talking about and gives them more ways to relate to your story.
6. Open up your body language.
Friendly gestures and confident eye contact make you appear more likable and interesting. Stand or sit up straight and uncross your arms.
7. Speak clearly. Slow down and articulate your words.
Everything sounds better when you avoid mumbling. Holding your head up automatically makes you sound more energetic and warm.
8. Build up your vocabulary. Increase your word power.
The bigger your vocabulary, the easier it is to select the precise words to convey your message. You’ll make a better impression and sound more persuasive. Remember, though, bigger words don’t mean better. It’s more about having a variety of words to choose from. One great way to build your vocabulary is to read books.
9. Ask questions.
People love to talk about themselves and, usually, even though many people will say it makes them uncomfortable, it also provides others with a chance to shine during a conversation. Be gracious and give this to your conversation partner. They’ll remember you not as the nosy person, but as the person who was genuinely interested in what they had to say and provided them an opportunity to express themselves.
More Challenging Methods for Improving Your Conversation Skills
1. Cherish others.
People will be more receptive to anything you’ve got to say if they sense that you take a sincere interest in others and want to help them. Remind yourself of all you have to be grateful for. Be aware that although the person you’re speaking to may have a completely different background, they most likely will have something they can teach you. Look for opportunities to extend the positive feelings you hold when you feel seen and heard to a broader circle of acquaintances.
2. Nourish your self-esteem.
Know that you matter and you have worthwhile things to contribute. Remind yourself of your accomplishments and take strategic risks when it comes to providing your thoughts, sharing your work, or pitching your project.
3. Express your emotions.
Be honest with yourself about your true feelings on topics so you can talk about them in a constructive manner. Your example may give others the freedom to disclose more too.
4. Focus on the present moment. Engage fully in what you’re doing.
Put aside other distractions so you can give people your full attention. This takes practice, but it pays off 100-fold. It’s proven that those who stay in the moment not only come off better to others, they’re happier people in the long run, too.
5. Lead a meaningful life.
Voltaire, Abraham Lincoln, and Oprah would get quoted a lot less if they had just watched television all day. Commit yourself to lifelong learning, use your leisure time well, and do good things. I promise you’ll have more to talk about.
6. Practice consistently.
Like everything else, conversation skills improve the more you use them. Brush up on small talk with other customers in the coffee shop or at your local farmer’s market. You’ll be better prepared whether for your next job interview or for having dinner with friends you haven’t seen since pre-COVID.
Some of these suggestions are easy to use and some will require significant effort. They’re all worthwhile.
Mastering the art of conversation will help you:
- share more of yourself with others
- deepen your relationships – personal and professional
- learn more about the world around you, which will only make you more interesting and attract more interesting people your way in the long run
Once you’ve given a few a try, don’t hesitate to share your outcomes in the comments!