I often observe people interact with each other, and more often than not, I see that one person dominates the conversation, while the other person or group of persons look on, and even when they try to say something, they are overshadowed by the more dominating personality.
In a conversation, everyone has to have an equal chance at saying what they want, and this is one of the most flaunted rules in conversation etiquette, according to my observations.
Often, we fail to recognize these faults in our own interactions, perhaps because they are so habitual that they are no longer noticeable, but if you wish to correct your mistakes, or simply improve your conversational skills, here are some tips for you:
- Do you ever â€˜listenâ€™ to what the other person is trying to say, or do you always talk and talk, and never bother to listen to what is being said? If so, then you are making one of the most common conversation mistakes, something which can bring a standstill to what is being discussed.
- A person can talk too much; be a blabber mouth. If you are one such person, stay warned that people around you will tune you out the minute you start hogging the conversation, talking out of balance and never giving another person a chance to get in something edgewise.
- Beware of the â€˜me-tooâ€™ syndrome. Suppose your friend starts talking about his dinner party, you immediately seize upon the chance to talk on the same topic, and tell him about your dinner party experience. This can be childishly irritating behavior, and intensely frustrating to the person who has initiated the conversation. This friend will definitely avoid you the next time!
- Similarly, you must be careful when you offer unsolicited advice, even when you are sure that your friend may need it. This can be a grave conversation mistake, and can put off the person you are talking to. He too will probably avoid you next time!
- Some people interrupt ongoing conversations rather rudely to offer their own suggestions. This can be extremely irritating, and obtrusive behavior.
- There are some people who only receive; they do not give anything at all to the ongoing conversation. If you are one of these types, remember, your behavior can be quite off-putting to those with you. It creates an imbalance if one person does not say anything, and appears to be completely involved in his own personal thoughts. Why enter the conversation then?
Apart from these conversation mistakes, there are some others that you can easily avoid, if only someone had thought of telling you about them.
Never ask too many questions; you may make it seem, even if inadvertently, like you are interrogating the other person.
Likewise, be prepared, and be well versed with all the latest news and happenings. In a tight situation, when you find that you have run out of things to say, you can always bring in the latest events and start an interesting discussion about them.
Be careful of your body language too; this can easily become a conversation breaker in any situation.
Speak clearly and legibly, and donâ€™t speak too fast, even if you are excited about the conversation.
Never ever speak in a monotone; you will sound much too boring, and people will simply tune you out. Would you listen to a monotonous delivery of a monologue, or would you listen to a monologue delivered with feeling? The others may find you difficult to understand, and you may be putting them off.
If you are talking to a group of strangers, avoid personal topics, like for example your bad breath, or body odor. After all, why would a stranger care about whether you have body odor or not?
In the same way, be aware of your surroundings, and pay attention to your listenersâ€™ body language. Is anyone paying attention to you as you prattle non-stop about your new beach home, or is everyone looking the other way, bored to tears? If you find this happening, stop immediately, change the topic.
As Dale Carnegie put it, â€œYou can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you, which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one.â€
Show genuine interest in the other person and what he has to say, and there you are, on your way to being an excellent conversationalist.