30 lessons in 30 years / Inter-Generations / Sell Yourself


Conversations. Communication. Conversing.

I’ve noticed over the year, how some people find it increasingly difficult, as a host or a guest in a business relationship, to start a conversation or even keep the conversation going. They seem to be ok in a personal setting, but in business it’s quite a different story.

We already know that verbal and non-verbal communication is so important to the conversation, when 7% of our communication is Body Language, 38% is the words we speak and 55% is the tone that we use and how we sound when we talk. 38% is a huge influence in how we communicate and while the art of conversation takes practice, it’s not as hard as you might think. Whether it’s at a dinner party, your school or over the phone, a great conversation starts when two or more people are on the same page and feel comfortable talking with each other.

By following these steps, you can learn to relax and have a great conversation with just about anybody.

Art of Conversation The Training Establishment Rebecca Wiles 1300755724

Find out a few things about the person you’ll be talking to (if you can) before you actually start a conversation. Social Media sites where a person needs a profile, such as Facebook and Twitter, can be good sources of information, as long as you’re careful not to cross privacy boundaries and come across as a stalker. Kick off the conversation with some interesting information that’s not too personal.

“I was looking at the xxx website and saw that you’re xxxx. How did you get involved with that organisation?”

“I saw on the office memo that you’re working on the outreach project for local schools. How’s that going?”

“Is it true that you xxx in your spare time?”

Ask questions so that the other person can talk about himself or herself. “What do you like to do?” “What sort of things have you done in your life?” “What is happening to you now?” “What did you do today or last weekend?” Identify things about them that you might be interested in hearing about, and politely ask questions. People love having a chance to discuss their passions or their subjects of expertise.

  • Make sure that your interest appears genuine. Maintain eye contact and nod your head or interject comments like, “That’s interesting.”
  • Ask questions for clarification. If your conversation partner is talking about an occupation or activity you do not understand, take the opportunity to learn more. “Wow, I’ve never heard of that, how does that work?”
  • Start superficial. Ask more generic questions at first. Then, gauge your partner’s comfort level. If your partner seems willing to open up, then you can ask some more personal questions.

Listen skills. A conversation will go nowhere if you are too busy thinking of other things, including what you plan to say next. If you listen well, you’ll identify questions to ask based on the other person’s statements.

  • Paraphrase back what you heard the person say. “So you’re saying that xx is the just like xxx? I can’t imagine that myself, it’s truly unique.” Doing this shows respect for the other person and gives him or her the chance to correct your understanding, confirm it or elaborate.
  • Encourage the other person to do most of the talking. Your conversation partner will feel as though you are attentive and engaged and you will get the credit for being a great conversationalist.

Silence is Golden. Take a drink or a bite of your dinner while you think of the next thing that you want to say. Did something that was said generate a new thought or topic in your mind? Use the pause to transition smoothly into further conversation.

Know when the conversation is over. Even the best conversations will eventually run out of steam or be ended by an interruption. Smile, state that you enjoyed the conversation and say goodbye. Ending on a positive note will make the other person want to talk to you again.

If all of this has got you thinking, maybe there’s more that I can help you with. Explore for yourself.