Making connections is sometimes seen as the most important part of professionalism. Connections can improve all kinds of educational and business success, but it can be tricky to make these connections if you aren’t the best conversationalists. These tips, though, are sure to help you overcome any social difficulties and keep conversations going.
1. Use lines that continue the conversation
If you struggle to make conversation, transitions in conversation are likely where you have the most issue. When talking about something you know, it’s easy to keep talking, but it’s hard to start a conversation out of nothing or continue a conversation when you don’t have anything left to say on a subject.
There are several phrases you can keep in mind that can keep a conversation going during transition periods. These phrases can be conversation starters or continues.
Questions asking about favorite parts of the industry and the biggest challenges in an industry can help start a strong conversation that can inform you about things you might need to know in your professional life.
Phrases like ‘Tell me more about…’ and ‘What was your experience with…’ can help continue a conversation when an avenue has been exhausted.
2. Let your interests lead the conversation
Conversations are easiest when you are passionate about what you’re talking about for a couple of reasons. For one thing, you know more about the subject. Secondly, you are more motivated to ask questions and stay focused on the person you’re talking to at any event.
For some, it might feel impossible to let your interests lead the conversation, but that is because you’re worried someone might judge your interest or topic of conversation. Generally, that does not happen, which is something to remember.
If you let go of these worries and start asking about the things that really matter to you, not only will you learn more about things you are interested in, but you will also have more satisfying connections.
3. Ask Questions
You do not have to know everything about a subject going into a conversation. If you’re working to seek out connections to learn more about the profession, don’t beat yourself up when you don’t know something; ask questions about it.
Questions can increase connection. People don’t generally like others who act like they know everything already. That is especially true when they aren’t established in the industry that they act as if they know about intimately.
If you are ever unsure, ask a question. Open-ended questions can feed a deep conversation and help you make better connections.
4. Come Prepared
That being said, make sure you are aware of the basic facts of the industry. You don’t need to be a professional by any stretch of the word, but you should show your interest in the community by being aware of common phrases and practices in the industry.
If you are invited to an event in the industry in which you’re interested, then you probably know the basics of the industry. If you are relatively unclear about the industry, look up some beginner tips on Google to familiarize yourself with the industry, so you look interested in what you’re talking about in conversation.
In addition, it is smart to come prepared with topics of conversation. If there are things you are curious about, ask about those things. Prepare a list of what you want to learn about going into every event. This way, you make the most of your time and other’s time.
5. Practice and Confidence
More than anything else, practice and confidence are the keys. If you need to do some research to be confident, go for it. If not, go in somewhat blind. Sensing confidence in someone can be a huge draw and can increase connection.
The practice is also vital. As you practice, you will become better and better at every part of a conversation, from the opener to the graceful goodbye. If you are worried about having a professional conversation, a good idea would be to practice by having a conversation with someone at work, a boss, a professor or another acquaintance you would address more professionally.
A friend is helpful, but most of the fear stems from not being familiar with the person and not knowing how they will react to things you say, so in this instance, a friend may not help you practice as much as they try.
Learning how to keep conversations going can be daunting, but with these tips and plenty of practice, you will soon be able to navigate any discussion with ease.