Intelligence is a very general mental capacity, and one of the areas of life in which it is expressed most and best is in the conversations we have in real time with friends, colleagues , potential clients… What we verbalize speaks about the kind of person we are, and that is precisely why it is very important to master the communication skills involved in this activity.
Now, there are many elements that can interfere with our way of expressing ourselves: nervousness, disorganization, mental blocks… Knowing how to minimize their effect is also part of the communication skills that we must know how to develop. If you want to start rowing in that direction, you can start by following these guidelines to know how to generate interesting, stimulating conversations and involving others.
Creating Good Conversations
Follow these guidelines and incorporate them into your daily habits: there are no magic solutions that you will notice in two days, but there are medium and long term results.
1. Enrich your mind
The first step in enriching the content of a conversation is to enrich one’s knowledge. Gaining cultural references on arts, politics and science, for example, means that we rarely remain unaware of what to say, because even if we don’t know the topic being talked about well, we gain the ability to ask questions that contribute and are meaningful to all those listening.
Of course, this step cannot be accomplished in a few hours, but it is the first one we must take, and apply it to our daily life by reading books and articles, exposing ourselves to art frequently and, of course, participating in conversations. Which brings us to the next point.
Surround yourself with people you can learn from
The intellect is a muscle that is exercised by submitting it to efforts, and for this we must try to fill our lives with stimulating people . Knowing how to detect these people, moreover, is already a challenge: is this man we admire really interesting, or are we only impressed by his aesthetics and the agility with which he speaks? The best conversation is one that stimulates the whole mind, not just the ears and eyes.
3. Learn to follow rhythms
Often, the problem that makes the quality of the conversation deteriorate is simply the fact that does not control the rhythms of participation . There are people who think they have participated in a dialogue when in fact they have been listening without saying anything, and there are those who monopolize the word and make the others want to leave because they are bored.
To improve in this area, for example, if you think you have a tendency to talk too much you can press a thumb against the palm of your hand during the whole time you are talking; this way you will be reminding yourself all the time that you have been hogging the attention. If the opposite happens and you don’t speak, plays at detecting slightly longer than normal pauses in what the other person is saying and thinking quickly about something to say, even if it’s only one sentence, without changing the subject.
Of course, at first this won’t make the quality of the conversation any better (quite the opposite) but thanks to this you’ll get used to talking more and you’ll lose your fear of generating more symmetrical dialogues.
4. Put yourself in other people’s shoes
Another problem with conversations has to do with the belief that others know what we know. This can make what is said uninteresting to them (by not understanding those references). It’s good to think about what kind of knowledge others have , and to adapt to them.
5. True listening
Don’t worry about your image; just get lost in what the other person is saying, his words. You will naturally look at their face and often in their eyes, but don’t obsess about it. Your attention should be on the speech.
6. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself
You can talk about almost anything if you can find a quick way to link it to the topic you are discussing. If you think that a story from your childhood says something about the ideological position you talk about with your colleague, bring it up, as long as it doesn’t take too long, so that you don’t wander off .
7. Pay attention to the signs of interest
When you speak, occasionally observe the reactions of others with the specific aim of assessing whether they are interested in what they hear. If you think they are not, “lighten up” develops an ending for what you are talking about and looks for a “landing” on the topic you think will interest them (and which they may have been talking about before). However much we master the art of speech, what matters and what doesn’t is something that is decided by the set of people involved in the conversation.