Making great conversation
"The best way to know someone is to have a conversation with them."
- Neal Stephenson
Conversation is an artform. People who have mastered the art of conversation don't have to resort to talking about the weather or the news of the day. Being able to have insightful and meaningful conversations with people benefits us in our personal and professional lives. There is a finesse to it. Having great conversations requires asking good questions and being a good listener. We can make great connections with others and learn a great deal when we dig a little deeper than idle chit-chat.
It should not matter who we are speaking with. We have the ability to make the conversation interesting, for the most part. A key to drumming up a good conversation is to become curious. Think of it as being a reporter for a feature piece on this person. What are they passionate about? What are some fun facts about them? Asking beyond the typical, "What do you do for a living?" can provide for much much livelier conversation, especially when people don't feel like talking about work. Getting more creative with the questions is a big help.
Another great way to spark a great conversation is to listen. Follow-up questions can give us wonderful insight into someone else's world, so it's important to listen intently instead of waiting for our turn to speak. We can learn so much more about a person with follow-up questions that can lead to a much more engaging conversation. We may not always be paired up with others who can carry out a quality conversation, but we have the ability to steer it in the right direction by listening and asking thought-provoking questions that can turn a seemingly boring chat into something more intriguing.
It can be easy to get tired of the same old conversations that include the same old dialogue. We have a lot more in common with each other than just the weather or news of the day. We are all part of the human experience, each with our own individual experience and unique perspective. Everyone has a story to tell. Next time you are initiating a conversation, instead of talking about the weather, challenge yourself to bring up a more interesting topic. Anything is more meaningful than the weather. The weather won't mind.
Psychology Today: The Neuroscience of Conversations
Social Pro: How To Keep A Conversation Going (With Examples)