How can I keep a conversation alive

Conversationally Safe: Have better conversations

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Have a good conversationwhere both interlocutors feel comfortable is not that easy. Successful conversations are a fine art. On the one hand. On the other hand, not rocket science either, but learnable. And the prerequisite for this - in theory - everyone has: real interest in your counterpart. Because only if you treat your conversation partner with respect and on an equal footing will they have the impression that they are on the same wavelength and will feel understood. Still not easy, do you think? Then read on: So will you conversation safe

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Have a conversation: actively listen

A good conversation connects two people. It doesn't even have to be profound be. A nice chat can also be stimulating. As long as it is not used to impose, brag or otherwise to put in scene.

Rather, it is - assuming genuine interests in the other person - to focus on the other person and To discover commonalities between the interlocutors. Positive side effect: These can be used as a starting point and the conversation can be continued easily.

This works best through the so-called active listening. This does not mean particularly persistent silence, but rather conducting a conversation through questions or rather Inquiries and short comments.

That sounds simple, but it isn't. After all, you shouldn't work through a catalog of questions, but rather be interested in the content of the conversation - for example with the classic W questions: How? When? Where? What? Only the justification questions "Why" and "Why" are rather unsuitable at this point, because you are pushing your counterpart into a latent position of justification.

In general, however, any comments that moderate questions like this can be used Conduct the conversation cautiously and keep it alive:

  • "That sounds familiar to me, do you have ...?"
  • “That sounds exciting. What did you take away from it for yourself? "
  • “I know the situation too. How do you deal with ...? "

Perhaps the strongest psychological question is when you are your counterpart around one concrete advice ask. Hardly anyone can resist this subtle flattery because you are saying two things:

  • I recognize you as an expert in this field.
  • Your opinion is so important to me that it could have an impact on my life.

What a compliment!

Conversations for every occasion

The first sentence is often the hardest. Not only writers with writer's block know this. It also applies to Conversation starts at parties, receptions, congresses and trade fairs where strangers want to get into conversation. Quite a lot has been written about the casual chatting and the small talk. But how can you even find an original and successful way to start a conversation?

You don't need a cool opening line for this. Rather, it is enough if you briefly introduce yourself by name - and a few ask questions. Because almost everyone loves to talk about themselves. Great if you give him this chance. For example like this:

  • What do you do for a living? This is the Classic among conversation starters and opens up a whole range of follow-up questions, for example about the company, the industry, the position in which your counterpart works. The question is undoubtedly a good one, but also a little trite. That is why you do not attract attention through originality.
  • What brought you here? Attention: The question can be emphasized one way or another. In one variant, it sounds like accusation and interrogation. What is meant is the second: You are primarily interested in how your counterpart felt about this event, this lecture or the party and what relationship he or she has with the organizer. And by then at the latest you have already found the first common ground with the start of the conversation, because you also know the organizer from somewhere.
  • What do you get inspired by? Undoubtedly the more original opener. Because it makes the other reflect on themselves - and that inspires both of you. The question is of course not only suitable as an introduction to a conversation, but also as a starting point for a discussion in an already established group.
  • That looks really delicious! Where did you get that from? Admittedly, the question is more for the brave and extrovert and parties with a buffet. But she is usually extremely well received, because there is praise in her humorous dress: You have taste! And that immediately earns you sympathy. In addition, after getting the same thing, you can immediately put yourself up and present: Sorry, I haven't even introduced myself yet. My name is…

Quality Introductory questions to warm up and loosen up can also be found in this free PDF for download.

Become Conversational: Offer Help

In order to consolidate the relationship that has started, you have to reveal something about yourself at some point and bring yourself into the conversation. Anecdotes and entertaining stories work best here. They have the charm of the casual and do not immediately look like an elevator pitch where you try to sell something to someone.

At the same time, you will notice whether the other person is also interested in you - and that is ultimately the basis for long-term mutuality trust.

Aside from asking for advice, there is one more further question, with an enormous (sympathetic) effect:

How can I help you?

Of course, this question shouldn't be asked out of the blue and out of context. But if there is a problem or an opportunity to do so, this is not only a nice gesture, but usually also that Prelude to a deeper conversation and a continuing relationship - even if your counterpart does not immediately accept the offer.

Most of them will remember the offer, maybe come back to it later, but they will be happy to keep and maintain contact in any case. Goal achieved: You don't just have yours Proven conversation securitybut also social skills.

Misunderstandings: The 9 Most Common Conversational Mistakes

Whether in a business meeting, at an appointment with a customer or in daily dealings with acquaintances and strangers - in every conversation it can be easy Misunderstandings come. Sometimes it is enough to emphasize a sentence incorrectly or to make a gesture that the other misinterprets. The atmosphere of the conversation is already turning negative. To make you conversation safe, below we have the nine most common communication and conversation mistakes compiled…

  1. You interrupt your conversation partner.

    Interrupting your counterpart sends a clear message: What I have to say is more important than what you wanted to say. Men often interrupt their interlocutors because they feel superior. So it's about power and recognition. Women, on the other hand, interrupt the other person when you are excited and afraid of forgetting what you want to say. But no matter what the trigger, it is often perceived as a sign of disrespect when you interrupt someone. In professional discussions, you should always make sure to let the other person finish.

  2. You get distracted.

    If you are having a conversation, your undivided attention should also be given to it. Playing around with the phone, but also just letting your mind wander, is very rude. You show your counterpart that they don't deserve your attention and that you have better things to do. Especially with important professional contacts, this is not the impression you want to create. Anyone who has problems concentrating on one thing should eliminate possible disruptive factors from the outset. For example, turn off your cell phone. So you don't even get tempted.

  3. You expect others to read your mind.

    Those who do not express themselves clearly cannot blame others for misunderstanding them. Women in particular like to use indirect language, but at the same time expect the other person to always interpret the encrypted messages correctly. Always keep in mind that no one can read your mind. If you want to make sure that your statements are understood correctly, you should always make them clear and precise. Otherwise misunderstandings are inevitable.

  4. You want to be right.

    Conversation is not a competition. It's not about winning or always being right. Nobody knows everything or is always right. However, many make the mistake of believing that admitting a mistake is a sign of weakness. The exact opposite is true: Anyone who is able to admit to himself and his counterpart that he was wrong shows true greatness and mental strength.

  5. You get personal.

    Everyone knows people they just can't get along with. Often this cannot even be justified rationally - you just don't like each other. But this must not be reflected in your communication. Of course, that doesn't mean you always have to agree to everything. As in any conversation or discussion, you may disagree or approach things differently. Under no circumstances should you criticize your interlocutor on a personal level. Remain calm and focus on factual arguments.

  6. You have too little empathy.

    Communication also includes being able to empathize with others. From what point of view is he arguing? Why does he have a certain opinion? In many questions it is difficult to make a clear division between right and wrong. Often it depends on the individual point of view. In a discussion, therefore, always bear in mind that the other person expresses his or her opinion for a specific reason. He may be wrong to you, but he is a firm believer in his approach. So try to present your side clearly with factual arguments and not to label the contrary opinion as wrong from the outset.

  7. They only talk about themselves.

    Everyone is vain to a certain extent and likes to talk about himself and his successes. If you overdo it, however, you can quickly come across as arrogant and conceited. Instead, ask your interlocutor how he is doing and what he has been through lately. In this way you show interest and the other person feels flattered. You should also not be too self-reliant in your choice of words. Using a “we” more often than an “I” shows your team spirit and attracts colleagues and friends alike.

  8. You don't pay attention to your body language.

    Most of what we say is sent through body language rather than words. This therefore plays a decisive role in communication. Are you open to the person you are talking to or do you turn to one side? Do you keep eye contact or are you looking around the room? How far apart do you stand and lean slightly forwards or backwards? Many of these things happen unconsciously, but our body is constantly sending out signals that others can perceive. Make sure your words and your body are sending the same signals.

  9. You badmouth yourself.

    If you feel inferior, you tend to talk badly about yourself beforehand. Formulations such as "I know it's a stupid idea, but ..." have almost no chance of success. How can someone else find your idea good and maybe even see to it that it is implemented, if even you are not convinced of it yourself? Appear self-confidently and show with your choice of words that you can express your opinion and believe in the potential of your idea. That way you will be able to get others on your side as well.

Bonus tip: when to shut up

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20th August 2020Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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