How to Have a Good Conversation

If you avoid conversations and would rather communicate by message or text, it’s time to reconsider that habit. A genuine conversation, whether by phone, online platform, or in person, is a powerful tool that benefits you and your business.

Talking on the phone lets you use tone of voice to your advantage in a way texting doesn’t. Despite occasional technical glitches, connecting with someone visually online enables you to use visual cues to communicate. Discussing in person when possible is even better, as body language, eye contact, and reading someone’s reactions before responding help make the discussion an authentic experience.

It’s easy to hide behind texting; like social media, it can create a false persona. This doesn’t seem bad, especially for introverts, but eventually, you may need to meet your client in person. Which is more anxiety-inducing: dreading the day you must sit across from them or getting it over with and taking the time to build rapport and, in turn, ease and comfort upfront?

Our top ten on getting the most from your conversation:

  1. Keep on topic. Plan a conversation like a meeting – have specific things to discuss and stick to them. This respects the other person’s time. Don’t have a hidden agenda.
  2. Be present – don’t multitask, check your phone, or respond to texts when talking with someone.
  3. Don’t be a know-it-all – we all have something to learn, so approach a conversation open to learning a different viewpoint, new ideas, and other opinions.
  4. Ask open-ended questions: who, what, where, why, and how will give you more information than asking yes or no questions.
  5. Don’t drift – concentrate on the conversation – don’t let thoughts on other matters crowd in.
  6. Don’t misrepresent yourself. If you don’t know something, admit it. We can’t be geniuses all the time.
  7. Avoid self-promotion – interrupting someone to grandstand is never productive. It’s boring.
  8. Try not to repeat yourself. Just because your conversation partner didn’t jump on something you said doesn’t mean they didn’t hear you.
  9. Don’t go down a rabbit hole – unless your conversation is meant to be a detailed planning session, avoid focusing on small details – concentrate on the big picture.
  10. Talk less, listen more – your conversation partner will feel heard and respect you more. Do this by active listening versus waiting for your turn to talk.

If you’re an active follower of our blog, by now, you’ll know we love a good quote. This topic is no exception! A few favourite bon mots:

“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” – Dorothy Nevil

“The great charm of conversation consists less in the display of one’s own wit and intelligence than in the power to draw forth the resources of others.” – Jean de la Bruyère

“The stronger person is not the one making the most noise but the one who can quietly direct the conversation toward defining and solving problems.” – Aaron T. Beck