The Ideal Conversationalist

At some point in our lives, we may come to question whether or not we are boring. It doesn’t matter what type of lifestyle we have; we may be the ultimate socialite or a stay-at-home introvert – this query could bother any one of us. It can often stem from a series of awkward social encounters which leaves us wondering – maybe I’m the problem?

In a way, this is a positive thing. Fearing inadequacy proves we crave self-improvement which means we are willing to further develop ourselves into an even more interesting, balanced and informed person. People who fear they are boring, are rarely boring.

I chose to observe my closest friends with whom I felt most fulfilled with during and following a conversation. I wanted to really notice the qualities they had that made them so receptive and intriguing. By analysing these qualities, I aimed to learn from them myself and incorporate them into my daily life, and within these friendships, to be the best friend that I can be, in return. Here is what I discovered.

Listen

The most important factor in conversation is how you listen.
This is something that everyone will tell you and therefore the importance of it is often undermined because it just seems so incredibly simple. A lot of the time, people are not truly present in a moment and therefore may be distracted by their own thoughts during a conversation, or reciting what they plan to say next. Just listening to who you’re talking to, and genuinely delving into their story, already brings depth to the conversation as you will be able to remember more details and ask for them to be expanded upon.

Think of a conversation as someone passing you envelopes. These envelopes represent points that they are saying. If a person hands you 5 envelopes but you don’t open them by not asking more questions regarding them then you are not accessing the bulk of the information – you are merely scratching the surface.

Listening is often under-looked, or sloppily attended to.
You’ve probably had dozens of conversations where you’ve shared something personal and rather than expanding on the point, your partner acknowledges it but fails to address the topic, and instead, takes over with their own story. This, in turn, strips you of any desire to respond to what they have to say, and sends you on a loop of repeating what your partner did by not acknowledging their contribution, and bringing the conversation back to yourself.


Eye Contact

Such a seemingly simple task but extremely significant.
Eye contact is vital because you’re creating intimacy in the conversation and reassuring your partner that you are paying attention.
The worst thing is when the person you are conversing with is looking all over the room, focusing on everything but you – a clear indicator of disinterest.

React

I have a friend with whom I adore talking to because after spending time with her I feel inspired and alive. It’s almost as if she holds the key to my mind and unlocks it every time we converse.
One of the things she does when I talk is – she reacts. She genuinely reacts, with whatever emotion is appropriate – whether it be disbelief, amazement, laughter etc. and most importantly – it’s authentic (or at least it seems that way). When I talk, she listens with a sense of urgency, and it feels as if we are consumed in a warp tunnel, within which we are only concentrating on each other.

Reacting is like a go card that the speaker is given to reassure them they are interesting and should proceed with their story.


Ask Questions

Enter every conversation with a thirsty mind and eager to learn something new. Aim to grow by having an open mind.
Often we may evade subjects that are controversial to avoid any potential conflict, but entering an intellectual conversation, especially a sensitive one, can actually create a stronger bond with your partner.

Often, we don’t talk about what’s important, and what’s important is different for everyone. You can tell when someone is discussing something that is significant to them because they instantly light up.
Talk to to people with the intention of releasing this passion because that is when you begin to inspire people – when you open up a side of them that is usually dormant.

Ask open-ended questions – ones that can not be answered with a yes or no. If you’re confused – ask, and always try to dig beneath the surface. Underlying every story is emotion, experience and an opinion.
Questions are important as they determine the quality of an answer.


Answer with zing

Questions depend on answers and answers depend on questions. A conversation is a mutual investment where both parties need to make an effort. Give colour to what you are saying and view questions as merely a prompt to be creative with.


Have interests

A great quote from Matthew Hussey, life coach:

If you are not entertained, you will not be entertaining.

In order to be interesting you need to have interests that stem outside of work or studies. We, as humans, crave fulfilment and this can only be achieved by having a multi-faceted lifestyle. This is one that includes family, work and life balance. We need to be social but also remember to focus on self-development.

Self-development is the improvement of your knowledge and skills. This can be worked upon by reading, watching informative videos, listening to podcasts, talking to different people, picking up new hobbies, travelling and being more self-aware.

If there is some sort of activity you have wanted to try for a long time just sign up for it. Life is too short to only be wishing for something but not actively pursuing it. What we know and what we do is part of who we are. To be truely unique and interesting it always benefits to be multi-dimensional.

NatashaSchap

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