So you see a great looking man (or woman) and you wish you could think of something to say. But shyness overcomes you or you get tongue-tied. In that split second you have to connect with someone– the right words don’t seem to pop into your head. Well fear no longer. Below, you’ll find a few simple, yet highly effective tips to help you get over that hump and flirt with the best of them.
Inner Chatter Gets in the Way
First let’s break the art of conversation down to understand the elements involved. You talk, you listen, and the other person talks and listens. Hopefully you share a laugh or two. That’s it! Why doesn’t it seem that easy? Well for one thing, people who worry about conversation are often having way too much internal musing to even hear what the other person is saying. You know what I mean. Instead of actually listening to your partner, you start thinking:
– What should I say next?
– Does it seems like the person likes me?
– Nobody wants to hear what I have to say
– I’m not very good at idle chit-chat, etc.
Focus on What the Other Person is Saying
Honestly who could participate in a lively conversation with that much distraction from inner doubt and chatter? Next time you notice this split in your brain, bring yourself back to the present moment and focus on what your partner is saying. Your rapt attention is very flattering and will help you concentrate on the conversation, rather than drifting off into worries.
Extending the Conversation
Here are a few simple ways that will dramatically improve your ability to hold and deepen a conversation and even enjoy it!
1. Think of the conversation as a learning experience – to get to know the person, focus on him/her and ask questions about them rather than talk about yourself
2. Comment on the last few words that he/she said and turn that into a question. Whatever the last words were, follow up with, "Tell me more about that." Or "What do you mean by ______? "Or repeat the words and end the sentence on an up note indicating a question.
3. When it’s your turn, contribute something that supports your partner’s point, from your own life experience, the news, or the environment. Then finish up with another question that deepens the conversational thread or takes it in a new direction.
You can have an entire conversation like this and actually say very little about yourself – yet the dialog will flow smoothly and your partner will likely be enthralled. This method is so engaging, often the other person doesn’t even recognize the entire dialogue has been all about him/her.
Why A Good Conversation is like a Tree
Visualize a good conversation like a tree, branching out in many possible directions. You start down one path, then you shift to another angle, then continue until it forks again. Once you realize there are many different conversational branches you can follow, it makes the process so much easier.
Practice Makes it Easier
Conversation is an art that can be cultivated and opportunities to practice present themselves all day long. Don’t wait for the perfect person. The more exchanges you initiate, the more confident you’ll feel. And, trust me, that will lead to meeting lots of new people and more fun, no matter where you go or what you do.
So get out there, put a smile on your face, and talk with everyone around you. One thing is for sure, when you minimize the internal chatter, you free yourself up to connect with people more easily and participate in life’s adventure.