Counsellor Sarah Barr shares five ways to maintain a friendly conversation at your next networking event, date, dinner or party.
Conversation is necessary as it introduces us to people. These people include friends, partners and employers. Without an initial conversation, the foundation of these relationships may not be built.
Yet it can be so daunting!
It may require us to be self-confident and chatty as we try to ignore the negative self-talk in our heads.
Some conversations hit it off from the start and some fall flat. This happens and it happens for all sorts of reasons.
One reason could be you have not ‘clicked’ with the person you are talking to.
You will not be everyone’s cup of tea and this is okay.
However you will find those people who you instantly click with. People who will help you, who will be there for you and who will listen. Your ‘tribe’.
Yet you will not know who these people are if you do not engage in conversation.
A simple “Hi” will start a conversation and below I have listed ‘talking points’ to help keep it flowing.
Everyone loves a compliment. Us Irish sometimes do tend to shy away when we receive a compliment. Instantaneously playing it down, while our faces give off a lovely shade of red.
However with that said, deep down we do love a compliment. A compliment provides a perfect opening line or a possible area for discussion.
Starting the conversation off on a positive note will definitely help in keeping it going.
2. Small Talk.
Whilst small talk is not always the most fulfilling type of conversation, it is both functional and necessary.
Small talk leads to deeper conversations. When we talk generally about television shows, fashion, news, etc it enables us to pick up on similar interests or hobbies.
Before you know you have been talking about your favourite Netflix series for an hour.
Questions can help you move from small talk into real conversation. Keep your questions open-ended as to allow for more than a one-word response.
“Tell me more”
“How did you do that”
“How did you two meet”
Try to keep potential questions in the back of your mind.
By focusing more on the person you are talking to rather than on yourself, will help to keep them engaged and interested.
However if you feel the conversation is fading, or if the person doesn’t respond well to questions. Try sharing something interesting or funny about yourself.
4. Body language.
Body language is a type of non-verbal communication. We are constantly communicating non-verbally.
Non-verbal communication include; facial expressions, hand gestures, eye movements and voice tone.
Your level of friendliness will contribute to the receptiveness of the other person. By smiling, making eye-contact, open hand gestures and nodding will help positively maintain the conversation.
5. Keep it easy & light.
By keeping the conversation easy and light, you will be more approachable. By starting the conversation off by complaining or being too negative can lead to the conversation ending.
Practising whenever you get a chance will all have a positive impact on your confidence and conversational skills. Remember the person you are talking to is probably feeling the same way you are.
I hope these tips help for your next networking event, date, dinner or party.
But overall remember to have fun and be yourself.
Counselling is a talking therapy. We are trained to listen attentively, be aware of body language and tonality. Picking themes and patterns from whatever it is you are talking about.
Counselling can help you build self-confidence and achieve personal goals.
For more information, I can be contacted by calling 086 4477867 or via my Facebook page