Everyone loves a good conversationalist. No, not your whiny Aunt who babbles on and on at every family function and doesn’t even let you get two words in, Aunt Peggy is a great TALKER. Huge difference. A good conversation tends to require a good amount of push and pull, both parties participating equally and bringing something to the table. If you turn on television late at night (which I highly discourage) you can see a ton of great conversationalists, they have these great things called talk shows and they make millions upon millions of dollars by being fun to converse with. For years people have been intrigued by the likes of David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and even radio personalities like Howard Stern and Larry King. While all these wonderful men have their differences, they all have something in common, they’re fucking loaded. Ha-ha, just kidding, they are loaded but this article is about something else they have in common- these 5 rules that make someone a great conversationalist.
1.) Be Genuinely Interested- It seems so simple but many of us find it so hard. We seem to only want to talk about OUR lives, OUR victories and OUR problems like they are all that matter. While that may be great for YOU it is a fucking drag for the person you’re talking to. This is the golden rule for being a great conversationalist. You HAVE to care about what the other person has to say/ has going on in their life. Nothing will dull a conversation more than babbling on and on about yourself. Put yourself in a position of power and help YOURSELF out by putting the spotlight on the person or people you’re talking to. The reason late night shows and radio programs exist in the first place is in large part due to the people they bring on and interview. I would be willing to bet you can’t show me one good conversationalist who focuses on themselves for the majority of the transaction. If you want to be an exciting, enriching person to talk to- focus on the person in front of you. If you want to indulge yourself in something thats all about you avoid doing it in conversation and get on social media and filter the fuck out of yourself and your life so you can get your likes up and feel better about yourself.
2.) Focus On The Positives- While discussing negative subjects and situations has its place with someone you already have an established relationship with, at all costs you should avoid negativity. When you talk with someone and you focus so heavily on what’s wrong with the world or what bad things are going on or happening to you, you put the person you’re conversing with in a negative mindset. By association they will subconsciously tie you to the negative emotions they experienced while talking to you and you become the negative thing they need to avoid. Good conversationalists don’t ponder too much on the negative, this is partly due to their mindset and character but mostly due to the fact that any good conversationalist knows by talking about positive things and positive things only, people will begin to form a positive view point about you. No one wants to be looked at like a negative Nancy and no one wants harsh emotions to be associated with the thought of them. By focusing on positive conversational pieces and subjects we can build happy emotions around our persona and spread those positive vibes to those we converse with.
3.) Never Argue or Debate- A conversation is just that- a conversation. Multiple people having a good time expressing their emotions and sharing information with one another. A conversation should NEVER turn into an argument or a debate. The most sure way to turn someone off to your presence is to disagree with them. A good conversationalist will never even attempt to argue with someone or initiate a debate: if someone tells him the sky is yellow, he is so sure it is yellow as well that you may even begin to question if the sky is really blue. It’s super easy to impose our opinion on others, especially when it comes to topics we are passionate about. There’s nothing wrong about having an opinion on something but there is everything wrong with trying to argue with someone or politic your way into the winning side of a conversation. To be a good conversationalist you have to be like Sweden at all times- neutral.
4.) Push AND Pull- Let the conversation be a split transaction. Good conversationalists have a lot of great things to offer and they know the other party does as well, they listen intently but they also bring a great deal to the conversation. You absolutely do not want to dominate the conversation and it’s true that listening is much, much more important than talking but do not just sit there and be a sponge. It’s good to absorb information but it’s also good to let some out too. For every push, a good conversationist brings a little bit of pull along. Bring something of value to the table, wether it’s something interesting going on in your life or some current events. Don’t let one side COMPLETELY dominate the conversation.
5.) Ask Purpose Driven Questions- “What made you decide to go there?” “How’d you get involved with something like that?” Purpose driven questions are the Ace of Spades when it comes to conversation. They allow you to dig deep and get to know a ton about the other party and are also an easy transition if you’re not sure what to say next. Not only can purpose driven questions help you breeze past moments of awkward silence they can also open up avenues of conversation you would have never thought possible. Finding out what drives someone to do what they do is very intriguing and often for the person being asked the questions an unforgettable conversation.
The art of conversation is a very hard art to master but it is well worth the pursuit. Being a good conversationalist is crucial to every aspect of our lives- wether it be a business, social or family interaction. Sharpening your conversation tool belt can lead to fruitful opportunities in every area of your life and help you move through social situations fluidly.