How To Be The Perfect Conversationalist

In my line of work, networking is a daily habit. If you can’t snag someone’s interest by your looks alone, your intelligence and ability to communicate is extremely important. There are many-a-job I have talked myself into, for lack of a better analysis. Conversations can also be used to nourish flagging hospitality. They can be a weary task when beginning school, a welcome affirmation when starting a new job, and a moment of joy when shared with someone especially interesting at a social mixer.

Here are some tips to on how to be the perfect conversationalist.

  • Listen. This is the single most important rule for great conversations. Women, we tend to have spaghetti brains that link one subject to a personal experience more rapidly than we will admit. Refrain from offering advice and giving out stories, and just listen to the person, however tedious it may be to suppress each story “when I did that too!” An open ear is an open mind.

  • Know a little about a variety of topics. I don’t stay current in the news, TV sitcoms, or the latest fashion trend. But… I have had many an extended conversation about my reason for choosing to study Philosophy and Theology in college and then moving to LA to pursue acting and writing. I can talk about gardening, poetry, sewing, cooking, traveling, reading, woodwork, cars, finances, etc. Make yourself a well-rounded person and it will show through! Pay attention to the world around you and engage someone else’s experience of that.

  • Ask interesting questions. If you have followed steps 1 and 2, this should be easy! For starters, know that more than 50% of Americans don’t like their day jobs, so focus on passions instead. If they happen to like their line of work, ask where they get their inspiration. What’s one book they have been waiting to read? What did they originally go to school for, and why? Where do they call home?

conversationalist

Image credit Elite Daily

  • Let silence transfer initiative. If there is a pause or lull in the conversation, let it hang out for a while. Take a sip from your cup, look around, and be awkward together for a sec. If you’ve been doing all the listening, this should be a cue for your conversation partner to ask a few things about you. If they don’t take the hint, you can volunteer something, or change the subject. Maybe it’s time for a new partner altogether. Gracefully excuse yourself with a, “If you’ll excuse me, I saw someone earlier who I wanted to say hi to,” or something else that is sweet but firm. With your excuse, thank the person for their time, but feel free to move on to something else.

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about the Big Ones. If you are in a particularly deep conversation and have managed to bypass the small talk, go for the big things. Talk about religion, politics, life goals, life philosophies, etc. Be aware of guarding private thoughts when with a stranger, but there’s no reason why you cannot exchange a real human connection. Some of my own good friends were results of parties where we just “clicked” on life dreams, favorite authors, design styles, etc.

At the end of the day, find a way to enjoy and affirm the other person! What are some ways your like to kick off a conversation? Tweet us @brokebutbougie!