How to be a good conversationalist

+89 votes
asked Aug 23, 2015 in Career & Work by Blondell37W (280 points)
When it comes to starting conversations and being witty, I am no good at it. I am no comedian or public speaker – all I want to know is how to hold a good conversation. Is there any advice on this?

2 Answers

+15 votes
answered Oct 26, 2015 by Daniela25M27 (370 points)
Have you thought about why you can’t hold down a conversation? I don’t know much about you just by your question. But you may suffer from a simple lack of self-confidence or a severe case of shyness. There are ways to fix these problems.

Have you thought about seeing a counselor? Professionals are trained to tap into that part of the mind that says you are no good. They help people build the confidence that helps them succeed.

Other than that, you could do a lot on your own as well. Participate in group talks more often. And at the beginning, you don’t even need to talk much. A good talker is a good listener. So take interest in what other people have to say and listen to the words carefully. Too many people think that to be an excellent conversationalist, you have to dominate the entire conversation. That is absolutely not true. In fact, you are encouraged to let other people have their say. It shows that you are kind, considerate of others and not attention seeking. Also, by observing other people talking, you gradually get the sense of what it takes to be a good conversationalist.

So once you are more confident that you have learnt how to be a good conversationalist, practice holding conversations. You should ideally start doing this at your own home, so that the margin of error wouldn’t be so claustrophobic. This exercise requires you to write down topics of discussions along with possible responses. For one topic, write at least five ways that you can respond. Start with the topics you know very well. For a greater challenge, include a topic you are not familiar with or you may not feel comfortable talking about. A good conversationalist is able to talk his way around anything. He tries to convince people that he knows what he is talking about. Your goal is to persuade people to join your team and see life from your perspective.

After going through all these, I am sure you would have learnt how to be a good conversationalist!
+7 votes
answered Sep 18, 2015 by JestineHanna (350 points)
I have two pieces of advice for you. First, Know when to talk, when to stop and when to change the subject. There are good and bad moments to start a conversation. You do not interject your conversation about politics while someone else is talking about birds. Bad conversationalists are not considerate of other people. They are known to interrupt other people and pretend like what they have to say is more important.

Second, if your conversation is going nowhere, or someone else’s conversation is going nowhere, know when to change the subject. If it is uncomfortable for you to listen to, imagine how it feels for that conversationalist. Be a good speaker by taking over the discussion and introducing a fresh topic.
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