How to Make Conversation InterestingAuthor: Trevor Johnson
Conversation is an art form that not all of us are particularly good at. But all is not lost. There are some simple guidelines that you can follow that will help you make your conversation interesting (or at least not too boring!)
Every conversation has to start somewhere and if you don't know the other person very well then start by introducing yourself. At least your name and, if the situation is appropriate, what you do or your position in the company.
Let the other person introduce themself and make sure that you actively listen while they do this. Repeat their name back to them - something like "Hi Joanne, it's good to meet you" works OK. This will give the other person an opportunity to correct you if you've misheard their name and also helps to imprint the name on your mind.
Depending on the situation, it may be that you are expected to take charge of the conversation. If it's a business meeting, that's fairly easy. You may start with some small talk but you can quickly move the conversation on to various things to do with business, which should keep the conversation flowing fine.
But if it's a more social occasion then you need to get creative to make the conversation interesting enough for the other person not to start thinking about how to make their excuses and leave it as soon as they can politely do so.
Remember that a conversation is two way.
It's not a monologue and the corny phrase "you've got one mouth and two ears, use them in that ratio" comes into play. Fight the urge to take control and let the other person do well over half the talking.
This sounds a bit weird at first. After all, if they're doing most of the talking won't the other person think that you're boring? In almost all cases, the answer is no. There was a poster campaign a few years ago for the NSPCC which had the caption "What I need is a damn good listening to" and that's good advice for almost any conversation with almost anyone.
Keep listening and make reasonably intelligent comments to show that you're doing this and to keep the other person's words flowing.
It sounds odd but the art of active listening is probably the best conversation making skill you can learn.
Active listening involves doing exactly what it sounds like. You listen to what the other person is saying. To the exclusion of your own mind chatter or the attractive person half way across the room. Or pretty much anything else apart from something more important such as a fire alarm.
You'll almost certainly need to practice this. Most of us run an internal conversation that normally takes a much higher priority than listening to the other person. Maybe your eyes won't glaze over but they may as well have done so for all the attention you're paying.
What you'll find is that this active listening allows you to come up with good questions to ask the other person that will help to keep the conversation flowing and will make you probably the first person in living memory who's actually listened to what they are saying. Which almost automatically makes them think that you're a great conversationalist. Try it!