As stated earlier, having the skillset to handle an impromptu, in-person conversation can be an extremely advantageous skill to have. This is the person that makes the sale, gets the job, gets the girl, and essentially gets you what you want. If someone dominates a conversation while the other is just trying to figure out how to get away, who do you think is coming out on top? The good news, for those of you who struggle, is that no matter how bad you are at conversing, you can get better. Just like anything else it life, it will take time, dedication, and plenty of practice.
Fixing the Problem
When you are out in public, anticipate someone striking up a conversation with you, and look forward to it! Start playing out scenarios in your head and picture yourself responding calm, cool, and collectively. One of the biggest challenges you may face is that the conversation tends to speed up. Your adrenaline kicks in and you feel like you have to give an instant answer. Don’t be afraid to slow down! Before you respond, take a deep breath and think about your response. It may seem like forever, but it is actually just a quick second and no one will think of it as a weird pause. In fact, it will make you seem more confident! To buy yourself even more time, make a face that says “I’m thinking about my answer,.” The long, awkward pauses are very often only long in your head and only turn awkward when you fail to come up with a response.
This leads me to my next point, stay focused on the conversation rather than the exit strategy. When you are thinking about how to get away or how to end the conversation in the least awkward way possible, you will not be able to come up with quality input to the conversation. If you shift those thoughts to the conversation and trust that the conversation will end naturally (and if it doesn’t, who cares?), you will have more brain power to contribute to the discussion. Respond as if you are speaking to your best friend. Relax, put a smile on your face, and trust that you are someone that people want to talk to!
We, as humans, are social beings. We have thrived and survived because of our ability to socialize and communicate with others. It is the reason why we are the most dominant and developed species on the planet. The last twenty-five years or so has caused a significant change in the methods of communication, but the principles remain the same. The text message and email-reliant modern man simply needs to make a conscious decision to get out and practice in-person conversation. This was not something that our ancestors had to do when living in caves and hunting dinosaurs. But, that’s life. We need to evolve and change or risk falling inferior. Although your email and texting skills don’t go unnoticed and will be advantageous, the inability to follow through on those skills in a one-on-one situation will limit your successes.
What helps you have rock solid conversations? We want to hear! Leave your comments below!