Humans are indeed relationship-driven beings. We generally like to relate to others in order to establish a solid community. From time to time we become responsible for engaging our colleagues in a productive and nourishing conversation. Small dialogue, or small talk is one of the most effective ways to boost partnerships, romantic relationships, and even product sales. Acquiring good communication skills is the best foundation that you can have to achieve a long-lasting relationship. In order to experience social growth, you need to treat conversations with care. If you tend to make mistakes whenever you are in a conversation, you may start to associate conversations with embarrassment. This may make you shun most conversations, and may at times appear to be sloppy, rude, or unprofessional.
You should know that there’s a way to improve your conversation skills. It might probably take a while before you really grasp these skills, but it’s possible. In order to be a good conversationalist, you’ll have to acquire and develop the appropriate skills. One of those skills is knowing how to prevent yourself from making common mistakes in a conversation. Let’s just skip right to the common conversation mistakes that we tend to make in conversations. We’ll also look at a couple of solutions for those mistakes.
Listed below are 10 of the most dreadful conversation mistakes people make and effective ways to improve upon them.
1. Not Listening
In life, most successful individuals like to listen because they have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Perhaps you can speak fluently and you are also audible, but, the only problem that you face is that you don’t have the patience or concentration to listen to what the other person is saying. Such an occurrence is particularly true for people who are always eager for their turn to talk, with the issue closely relating to one’s own ego. The only way to deal with this problem is to learn how to really listen to what others actually are saying. This is the only way that you can genuinely pick up on loads of potential paths in the conversation. In addition, try as much as possible to avoid yes or no type of questions. Such questions only give you less information.
On the other hand, you can be a good listener but the one who you are talking to isn’t. It would be useful if you knew how to handle such situations. The first hurdle to overcome is transforming the conversation from auto-pilot mode. For example, if you ask a question and the other person replies vaguely, you can humbly prod a little further. Just rephrase the question again and give them time to think about a bit more. There’s a very high chance that they’ll start to open up, and the conversation will become more interesting.
In order to prevent yourself from making conversational errors, you need to start saying what you have in your mind; be free and open up, make sure that you always share your opinions so that those who you are talking to understand what your feelings are about a particular subject. Many at times you’ll notice those who you are talking to opening up and sharing their experiences with you. In order to reciprocate that, you need to do the same and open up as well. Take your time (but not too much), to share one or two of your experiences. Never allow yourself to become passive in a conversation, don’t just stand there nodding. One way to ensure a smooth conversation that you have everyday topics at the back of your head for your small dialogue time. Make sure that you try your best to answer the other person using short sentences. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t expect someone to invest in a conversation if you don’t invest in it yourself – its two-way traffic.
This occurrence is similar to so many areas of our lives. Don’t remain comfortable with the idea of always letting others to make the first move. There are going to be occasions where you’ll have to be proactive and when this happens, you need to be the one who makes the first move, to open up and invest in the conversation. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by replacing some questions with statements. By doing this you will become less passive in the conversation and the other party will have a clear view of your perspectives.
Not Contributing Enough
Even though there are going to be moments when you might feel that you don’t have much to contribute to a conversation, just try your best. Ensure that you listen keenly and that you become interested in what the other party is saying. Be inquisitive and try to come up with relating statements. It’s also of the essence that you try to maintain eye contact during the conversation. This is a good way to sharpen your observational skills and pick up interesting stuff in your surroundings to add to the conversation.
In addition, you can develop your own knowledge-bank by expanding your opinion on interesting things around the world. One good way of doing this is by reading newspapers, browsing the internet, and be constantly updated new water cooler-topics.
You also need to work on your body language. Keep in mind that the way you talk and the rapport you assume will contribute to your communication skills.
All in all, always take it easy, you will not get better in a day so don’t be so hard on yourself. Just slowly select the weak areas that you need to work on and start with those ones. If you begin to notice a difference, continue improving yourself. Your transformation will start to manifest itself spontaneously when you are in a conversation, in no time.
Asking Too Many Distracting Questions
Whenever you begin to ask your counterpart a series of ‘too many’ questions, the conversation will feel more like an interrogation. Even if the questions originate from your enthusiasm or genuine interest. The best way to improve your conversation is by taking moments to pause and listen. Always allow the other person to speak and express themselves. Avoid being obtrusive with your inquisitiveness. Just ask questions that are relevant and based on what’s being discussed in the conversation.
This is one of the worst things that you can do in conversation. Failing to let the other person finish what he or she has to say before voicing your views is not right. You need to let your conversational partners finish their speech, even if there’s a case of disagreement between you. This will automatically tell them that you are courteous enough to listen to other people’s points of view.
Acting confident but lacking confidence
You may act like the most confident person in the room but it’ll eventually show. Lack of composure can often be mistaken in a conversation to indicate deceitfulness. Ensure that you have sufficient confidence to feel self-assured about what you are trying to express. Learn about the techniques that most people use to quickly boost their self-confidence i.e. breathing exercises. Avoid pretense, as this will definitely portray itself in the conversation and it may tarnish your image.
Not tasting your words before you spit them out
Another serious problem that most people tend to overlook is one where people just like to hear themselves speak. This issue often leaves the listeners feeling like they only exist to fill up space, and not to add value to the conversation. Make sure that you enter into conversations being well informed. Come up with several techniques that you can use to add value and interest to any conversation. One good way of doing this is by thinking before you speak.
Cursing During A Conversation
This is another common conversation mistake. Now, let’s not beat around the bush and start pointing fingers at each other, at times, you might just curse without meaning to. In fact, for some people cursing is something that’s natural to them. However, this doesn’t automatically denote that it’s natural for those other people who you are talking to! Don’t misinterpret this, some people find it acceptable to curse whenever they are talking to someone who is already close to them, nonetheless, cursing should, by all means, be avoided. When you stay clear of cursing during your conversation, you’ll make sure that you are not being offensive to other people. Keep in mind that not all people take the use of foul language lightly.
Forgetting To Formally Introduce Yourself
This has to be one of the most awkward mistakes that people tend to make in conversations. Whenever you skip the part of making a formal introduction about yourself, the other person(s) may see you as someone who is very unprofessional. Some may even get the impression that you are not acknowledging the one you are conversing with. Therefore learn to always introduce yourself before the conversation starts. It won’t take much of your time really.
Always Checking What Time It Is
Lastly, we are going to shortly discuss this common habit that most people have i.e. always wanting to know the time. In fact, some people don’t realize how rude it is to relentlessly check your watch during a conversation. This is one of the worst things that you can do when having a conversation, it is very rude. In addition to this, you’ll certainly portray yourself as a person who is always in a hassle or in a rush. This bad habit will make the other person feel like you can’t wait for the conversation to end. You need to grow some consciousness if you feel uncomfortable just simply excuse yourself before you check your watch. Avoid checking your watch while the person talks!