This article has been submitted to us by Odile Faludi, Business Development Consultant and a Career Money Life Certified Supplier. You can read the original article here.
How to start a good conversation with a stranger, like everything in life, requires a little bit of effort. In business and in social situations, “research and relevance” is the key.
To start a good conversation know something about who you are speaking with and what they would find interesting to talk about prior to starting the conversation. It will avoid awkwardness. Social media platforms like LinkedIn are very useful for some “inside” scoop on who you may be speaking with. Not only do you find out where they work, what they do, but everything from the university they attended to their favourite hobbies or interests. It opens up a new avenue for how to start a good conversation. You start from an informed position. Your aim is obviously not to behave like a stalker but someone who really is interested. Through an engaging conversation, you can quickly get a sense of what is alive in the other person. It may be their work, family, hobby or a new venture. The important thing is that both parties are given the opportunity to speak.
A good conversation is like a ping pong match. It must be two ways so that both sides feel empowered and enriched by the experience. In our personal and business lives, we are drawn to others based on common interests, chemistry, likeability, and other intangible qualities. This can all come across effortlessly in what we say.
The driving force in progressing a good conversation is unfamiliarity. The need to want to know more about this new person. Being born curious is a wonderful attribute and by asking lots of questions shows you really care about the other person and what they think. Therefore when asking a question it’s important to ask then… shut up and listen. As the late Stephen R. Covey says, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
So how can you ensure that your first words won’t be your last? Odile suggests these hot tips to start a good conversation:
- Be generous with your time and wisdom, and help others without any expectation of receiving something in return.
- Start a good conversation, not by trying to show the other person how smart you are. It’s really irritating when someone you’ve just spoken to keeps trying to show off how “intelligent” and insightful they are.
- You connect with people by finding things in common, understanding what issues they may be grappling with and sharing ideas.
- Cultivate your interests so you are interesting to others. Be interesting and interested!
- Be authentic and be yourself. With seven billion people in the world and only one of you… you truly are unique.
- Ensure you sprinkle words which display your honesty, discretion, reliability, and consistency. These are very attractive traits especially in the early stages of building a relationship through good conversation.
- Don’t let everything that enters your eye gate or ear gate come out of your mouth gate. Most people can’t stand babblers!
- Have a sense of fun.
- The greatest compliment you can give someone is your time and a friendly ear.
- Keeping the respect tank full has a lot to do with the way we speak to each other.
It’s important at the end of the good conversation to say, “Thank you for calling.” Let the other person know if you enjoyed the experience. This builds confidence within the relationship and creates good feelings which will spur on further communication. If you forget to thank them you can always drop them a line via email, text or social media. Try to keep the communication flowing. Make each other feel good!
Career Money Life offers a wide range of services for professional and personal development. Contact us to learn more.