Have you ever been chatting with a group of friends (or worse yet, with your boss) when it suddenly gets very quiet and you realize you have committed a cardinal sin of conversing and killed the conversation? There are many unspoken rules covering conversations; the list below will help you to contribute while avoiding a conversation kill.
1. Me, Me, Me
You may be the subject you are most familiar with but you must avoid talking constantly about yourself. There is a fine line between talking about yourself and connecting with another by sharing your experiences and pointing to similarities between yourself and the person with whom you are speaking. Learn to communicate by taking turns; let others speak then use your turn to ask relevant questions or comment on what they say. Let others in the conversation know you are interested in what they have to say.
2. Avoid Interrupting
Never interrupt others when they are talking. Conversation is easily killed by constant interruption. Most of us find it easier to talk than to listen but, for the sake of conversation, learning to listen is critical.
3. Avoid Repeating
Repetition is a real conversational killer. It must be human nature to get hold of a subject and not let go since so many seem to practice repetitive speaking every day. Repetition annoys most listeners very quickly and just as quickly, the conversation is dead. Learn to let go and move on with your train of thought.
4. Negativity Kills
Misery may love company but it has no place in extended conversations. Don’t drag everyone else into a negative place; avoid speaking of too many negative topics at once. The first line of a famous poem written in the 1800’s shows us that negativity has always been looked at as in bad taste; “Laugh and the world laughs with you, Weep and you weep alone” ... this line hits the nail on the head.
5. Avoid Talking down
No one likes to feel the fool. When conversing avoid talking down to others or you will surely kill the chat. Generally speaking it is best to stay away from technical terms and industry specific jargon unless you are certain that the people with whom you are conversing understands what you are saying.
6. Don’t Swear
Potty mouth is likely to offend and you should find better ways to make your point. Using foul language is not considered socially acceptable to most people; by resorting to cuss words you are views as lacking in vocabulary. You come off as ignorant in any conversation where you rely on offensive language as a communication tool.
7. You Are Not Solomon
Never make assumptions based on anything but fact. You are not Solomon and you therefore should never be judgmental. Never judge unless you have been made privy to all the facts. Factors such as age, sex, race and appearance should never enter into assumptions you may make. A few poorly chosen words related to any of these factors are guaranteed to be conversation killers; not to mention that they may cost you your job in a work situation.
Conversation is a skill; one that can be improved and fine-tuned. By simply adhering to the 7 tips above you will find yourself killing conversations less frequently. Would you care to share your most embarrassing kill so that others may learn from your mistake?
Top Photo Credit: pattn