Conversation Starters – Enthralling, Engaging, and Enticing Your Conversation Partners
Conversations are easy, right? We go through them daily, without much planning or thought. From a casual conversation at home or work to a slightly formal one with an acquaintance or networking partner, conversations are fluid, positive, and unpredictable. But, what if your conversations matter? Would you be equipped if your conversations are the difference between success and failure in a high-stakes situation?
We tend to forget that conversations are communication gateways into first impressions and charisma-building. Going through countless conversations even in a day, we may not think that it is important to enthral, engage, or excite our conversation partners. On the other end of the spectrum, we take the viral potential of our conversations for granted. A wrong word, a careless sentence, or a misunderstood idea in a brief conversation can lead to that long, arduous, painful process of re-creating a strong first impression.
Today, let us share three quick tips on how you can create a powerful impression, even in a casual conversation setting!
Tip #1: Set Your Start & Stop
Do we really need to plan for every conversation? We know that it is odd to use such a formal structure/plan for something as simple and casual as a conversation. While you may not need to start curating your conversations to the second (phew!), it is still important to think about how you would generally approach a conversation setting. Understanding this context is the first step for you to use a conversation structure.
A conversations structure will help you to manage different conversation contexts with precision and engaging elements. For example, for an acquaintance/networking setting, a clear, focused, and directed conversation may be preferred. This would entail the use of overviews, summaries, and signposting (yes, even in a conversation!). You want to create an easy, quick impression to impress the other party. In contrast, an energetic sharing with your friends/colleagues may require an acute awareness of how much conversation stage-time you are taking. In short, are you talking too much? Know when to pivot to an engaging conversation style to involve others (e.g. asking questions, clarifying) – have your conversation structure to guide you!
Tip #2: Set Your Story Experience
We love stories. Be it for a speech or a quick sharing, a story is a powerful tool to engage your audience. You may be wondering – do we really need stories for a simple conversation? Think back to your last conversation, and you are likely to have included an anecdote or a personal experience sharing. These tales help to flesh out your conversations, moving it from a superficial interaction to deep, personal discoveries.
How should we share a story in a conversation? Unlike a traditional speech, your story is unlikely to be one that is dramatized or verbalized in the same full structure. Rather, stories are best utilized in conversation settings to create an open and engaging atmosphere. Try relevance check-in questions to create a direct connection with your conversation partner (e.g. “Have you experienced this before?”). Instead of a one-way sharing street, such questions will help you to draw a quick, relevant link between the story being shared and the other party!
Tip #3: Set Your Engagement Strategy
Conversations can be unpredictable – its fluid ad flexible nature may often result in awkward pauses or misinterpreted points. Having an engagement strategy at the outset for your conversations may be an effective tool in managing the potentially chaotic flow of a conversation. Beyond focusing on what you are saying, remember to listen to what your conversation partners are sharing as well. These are information nuggets you can use or refer to in ensuring that you create a strong impression.
For example, one engagement strategy you may adopt is to do a call-back or a reference during the conversation. Was the sharing particularly relevant to someone in the group? Can you draw a reference to something someone in the group has mentioned earlier? Doing so ensures that a conversation is not a randomized bouncing of ideas between the conversation partners – it becomes an energetic, in-depth, and fruitful sharing session!
Most important of all…
Enjoy Your Conversations!
Communication strategies cut across various communication settings – including a conversation! It is often the most trivial/menial communication settings that we choose not to give enough attention to. Oddly enough, these settings may have disastrous outcomes, especially if approached recklessly, or without a communication strategy in mind. We hope that with the tips above, you can take charge of the conversations in your day-to-day path!
WATCH on YouTube: #SpeakUP Ep 006 | Think Fast & Speak Spontaneously, How To Speak With Haters (Tough Talks)
By The Way…
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