A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO A GREAT CONVERSATION
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.” – ALBUS DUMBLEDORE
Words are amongst the most powerful creations of an individual’s mind. They have energy and power to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to humiliate and to humble. Still a vast majority of people do not understand this and as a result, fail to harness this power to their advantage. This magic of words that we talk about comes to the fore during conversations. Conversations are an opportunity to bond with people over a shared interest, gain interpersonal insights and feel the spark of connection. But more often than not we struggle to keep a good conversation going.
To understand and overcome this barrier of uneasiness and awkwardness, let us take a look at the factors that make a great conversation. Subsequently, we will talk about how to achieve our goal of great conversations and conclude this article with some Do’s and Dont’s.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT CONVERSATION?
The answer to this question can be different for everyone and changes with different types of conversations. Say, for example, a good business conversation will be a lot different from a good romantic conversation. Nevertheless, there are certain elements which are always present in a great conversation. They are
- Positivity: If the conversation is stuck at the negative aspect of any topic or situation, it is bound to get boring and unpleasant. By this, I do not imply that you do not talk about the negative aspects of things. All I propose is, try and build the conversation around positive things. By doing this, not only will you have a great conversation but also contribute towards a lot of positive energy and happy vibes around you and that is saying a lot.
- Meaningful Conversation: To engage people in healthy discussion, talk to them about things that are meaningful to them. This little element can be figured out simply by taking into account the likes and dislikes of the person across. The best conversations happen when people converse in a way that is meaningful to each of them about things that are meaningful to both of them.
- Right Intention: The biggest challenge with a good conversation is determining the purpose of the talk. What we want to achieve from the discussion determines what we are going to speak. If we are rigid about our viewpoint and not open to other’s opinions, it is a big threat to great talks.
Now, Let us also look at the implementation of these theories and how to go about it.
How to Start?
It might take a while to change the conversation habits that you already follow, but it is very possible and definitely worth the effort. The place to begin is by becoming a better listener. Yes, you read that right. Learn to listen to what people are saying and not just wait eagerly for your turn to talk. When you start to listen intently, you’ll pick up on lots of potential paths in the conversation.
The next step is asking questions from what you listened. Try to avoid questions that have a yes or no as an answer. Like for example, if someone says, they went camping with some friends during the weekend. you can for instance ask:
Where did they go camping? or What are the things they like about camping? and it on from there, but remember not to ask too many questions because that can be intimidating and the conversation may feel like an interrogation to the other person.
The third most important factor in any conversation is delivery, i.e. how you say what you want to say. While delivery habits are indigenous to every person there are some things to consider nonetheless-
- Control the speed of your speech and speak clearly.
- Speak loudly. You should be audible to the person/persons concerned.
- Speak with emotions. A well-modulated voice is always more attractive than a monotone.
- Learn a bit about body language and work on improving it. Body language is an important part of your delivery.
Other than these essentials there are a few more things that you ought to do and a few others that you should avoid. I have discussed them in the following section.
Things to do!
- Try to be as honest as you can. Tell the truth as you understand it. Doing this allows you to keep a track of things you have said.
- Speak in a manner that conveys Respect, Gentleness and Humility.
- Strive for making your actions complement your words.
- Participate enthusiastically in a conversation and encourage others to speak as well.
- Bring contrasts and comparisons in your conversation to make it interesting.
Things to Avoid!
- Shy away from Gossip. Always!
- Don’t be Boring. Drop a subject before it starts to bore people.
- Not reciprocating in a conversation is a rude thing to do for a gentleman.
- Do not hog the spotlight. I have been guilty of this and I am not proud of it. Do not interrupt people in between. give everybody a fair chance.
- Avoid arguing and having to be right about every topic. Understand that conversation is a way to keep the good mood going.
To sum it up, Focus on the quality of the conversation, Be particular of your manners and Be interesting and you will steal the show.
Good Luck Gentlemen!
Until Next Time!