Wednesday, January 18, 2012


 How important is it to know how to start a conversation? Have you ever found yourself at a networking event or a student gathering and you don’t even have clue of the first word to say?  In this post, I want to deal with essential communication skills, one that has the potential to make the difference in your life -- both socially and professionally.

Do you remember how often you have been standoffish in a crowd, how often you have given the false impression that you’re uninterested in getting to know others, until one person dares to approach you and start a conversation? Ten minutes later you can’t shut up, and you have a new friend or two. Well, today, I dare you to be different make the first move. These tips would definitely help you improve your communication skills for your professional and social life.

  • Tip One : Use inviting Body Language
Before saying anything verbally, you have the opportunity to break the ice with body language to gives others the visual indication that you’re a friendly, inviting person.
Body language that sparks conversations can include simple things like an appropriate smile, and not closing yourself off with crossed arms. Another way to seem more friendly when trying to start a conversation includes modulating your tone of voice and the pace at which you speak; a relaxed, self-confident voice is far more inviting than speaking quickly as though in a nervous panic, releasing a bored sigh, or saying your initial hello in a dull, disinterested tone.When ever you say hello to someone, try to stretch your hand at elbow length to establish contact with the arms of the person. But be careful not to overuse this, and never stretch your hand to a lady until she initiates that act first.

  • Tip Two: Start with an Open ended Question
Never start conversations with “Hello” because the conversation would go dead immediately the person responds with “Hi” (Try this if you don’t believe me). Of course if the conversation does survive you may follow up with either “How are you?” or “My name is  ...” and the response would definitely be,” I am fine, thank you” or “…. Is my name”. So what is an open ended question, and how do you use it in a conversation? An open-ended question is one that does not demand a sharp  quick answer and engages the person to talk on length about the question asked.
So if it is a networking event or  a seminar you can simple use the following:
Tell me about yourself
How long have you been coming for such programs?”
“What do you expect to learn after the seminar?”
Keep in mind that the question you ask, would depend on your level of familiarity with the person or where you find yourself at the point in time.

  • Tip Three: Reword their answer into a new question
Great conversationalist never introduces anything new; just turn the answer to their question into another question.
You can keep this conversation rolling not by changing the subject or asking a new follow-up question. Rather, do so by rewording their answer into a new question, even if you know that you’re not really saying anything new. It won’t appear that way; instead, you give the impression that you’re listening, that you empathize and that you have a general rapport with this person -- all key aspects of a good conversationalist.

Tip four: leave the Conversation to their control
Up until now, you have attempted to steer and control the conversation without appearing overeager. At this point, you should have positioned the other person as the primary talker in the conversation and yourself as the listener. The wider benefit of this positioning is fairly simple: That person will more likely recall the conversation as an enjoyable one if they did more of the talking.

Human Nature 101 teaches us that, whether we’re fully aware of it or not, we are our own favorite topic. Coming in at a close second is whatever other topic we happen to be discussing at the moment.

Thus, provided you have them talking, you shouldn’t have to work so hard to maintain the flow of conversation.