Being a great conversationalist is an important social skill especially when it comes to dating and making friends. Most people believe, including me at one time, that being a great conversationalist requires that you are an articulate, prolific, and humorous communicator. This is not true.
The most important skill in being a great conversationalist is in being a good listener! To be a good listener, you must take an active and genuine interest in the person and the things they are saying. You can enhance the conversation by asking tactful questions. If you get skilled at doing these things, don’t be surprised if you gain the reputation as being a great conversationalist.
There is an appropriate time and place to share your experiences, but you should do this sparingly. A person who dominates a conversation with talk about themselves is boring!
Dale Carnegie brought the importance of being a good listener to my attention when I read his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Although it was first published decades ago, the wisdom found inside still stands up today. It is also continually being updated. I highly recommend it.
Here is a review and further details on how to be a great conversationalist. Some of it comes from Carnegie’s book, which I read many years ago, and some of it from my experience.
- Learn to be a good listener by looking for things to be interested in about the person and the things they are saying.
- Give the person your full attention. Do not allow your focus to wander. This is a crucial part of being a good listener.
- Ask tactful questions that encourage them to talk.
- Ask tactful questions that guide them in a positive direction.
- Share your interesting and exciting experiences when encouraged or when a clear opening is recognized.
- Show your enthusiasm when you are talking about a subject you love. Enthusiasm is contagious.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to be their counselor, teacher, or coach. Just be friendly.
- Focus on positive and uplifting topics.
- Avoid negative and depressing subjects, especially those about an ex girl/boy friend or spouse.
- Stay away from discussions about politics, religion, and sensationalized news stories.
- Do not criticize, condemn, or complain about any person, place, or thing.
- Save details about your personal story for down the road. Give them only uncomplicated bits and pieces in the beginning. This adds mystery in a dating situation, which acts as an aphrodisiac. 🙂
As you can see, the skills required to be a great conversationalist center on being a good listener, finding interest in the other person, and keeping the conversation positive. You’ll probably be clumsily and awkward in the beginning. I certainly was. But in time you’ll become a smooth, skilled, and confident conversationalist.