Do’s and Don’ts of Conversation

Do you have that one person in your friends or relatives who is just so much more fun to talk to? That person that can talk about anything and everything and is never boring? Do you want to know how to be more like that person? Read on to find out. Here we’ve listed a few Do’s and Don’ts that can make you better at conversing.

The Do’s:

Keep Eye Contact: don’t look over at your cell phone’s screen repeatedly to see if you have a new message while you’re talking or listening to another person. Don’t look all around the room either. It’s important to look into the other person’s eyes with calm, sincere eyes whether they’re talking or listening. This makes you a more sincere listener because it shows that you are actively listening to what the other person has to say, and also makes you a less narcissistic speaker because it shows that you actually care if the other person is listening to you.

Listen!: make sure you listen at least as much as you talk, if not more. Respond to the points that the speaker makes by nodding your head yes or shaking it no, or by responding with short prompts such as “uh-huh” or “you’re right”. If anything the speaker says is interesting for you at all, respond to it by asking further questions afterwards. Everyone loves a good listener.

Do Your Homework: before going somewhere where you’ll see people that you know and have conversations with them, think about what they’re interested in. This is not as difficult as you imagine. Just think for five minutes about what you’re going to talk about, before you talk about it. This can prevent awkward silences from occuring and also stop you from getting into topics that your audience find boring or inappropriate.

Smile!: maintain a calm, kind and attentive facial exposure during conversation. Smile when you’re listening and don’t frown too heavily when you’re thinking hard or talking about a topic you’re passionate about. This is also true of your body language. Crossing your arms and breaking eye contact give off an unfriendly vibe, while maintaining eye contact and keeping your hands in their natural position give off an air of sincerity.

The Don’ts:

Don’t Be a ‘One-Upper’: One-uppers are people that always take the story you just said and say a cooler version of it about themselves. If you tell them you just lost 3 pounds by dieting, they’ll tell you they lost 7 pounds by dieting and exercising. These people constantly look to establish their superiority in conversation, and in the process sound very annoying and insecure.

Don’t Interrupt, and Don’t Be Obvious When You’re Waiting for Your Turn: this one is a no-brainer. Don’t start talking until the other person has stopped talking. Also, don’t signal the fact that you’re eager for your turn either. Some people like making frustrated faces or nodding too emphatically to signal the other person to stop talking, as if to constantly ask “are you done yet?”. Oh and don’t ask “are you done yet?” ever.

Don’t Leave Other Members of the Group Out: this is an important factor in how good of a friend you are within a group. You may alienate members of the group by not addressing them, and also continuously talking about topics that they have no knowledge about. Pick topics that are easy for everyone in the group to talk about, such as a show that everyone has seen or a time when the whole group went out and had a funny experience.

Don’t Overshare: some people give you the content of their Wikipedia page as soon as you meet them. Some even start talking about their problems with their friends or relative that you don’t even know by name. It’s important to keep the conversation about relevant information, and also not to unload your problems on the first listener you can find. This works the other way around as well: be careful what kind of questions you ask people and never dig too deeply into their personal life as they may feel offended by your inquiry.

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