Have you ever found yourself stuck in a conversation with someone who won’t give you anything in return? It might not be anything personal, they may not understand the art of conversation. Or maybe that person is you. Have you ever sat through an entire group conversation and contributed little to nothing? It’s ok, we’ve all been there.
If you must, talk about the weather—but move on. Talk about local events and activities, ask questions about mutual friends and acquaintances, ask where they work, where they grew up—or download some icebreaker questions. Keep things light and off of politics.
Elaborate On The Small Talk
It all starts with generic small talk but listen to that small talk so that you can look for questions that apply more to the individual you are speaking to. For example, you might not ask someone you have just met if they are married or have kids—but if they bring up their partner or kids you can ask more questions. Maybe how old their kids are.
Another key to mastering the art of conversation is to refer back to your previous conversation. If the last time you spoke to a friend, acquaintance, or colleague they had tickets to an off-Broadway show—ask them how the show was.
While questions matter, listening with an open mind is one of the most powerful ways to connect and engage. And don’t forget eye contact.