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How to Improve Your Conversation Skills

"A conversation is so much more than just words; a conversation is smiles, eyes and the silence in between words." Anika ThorIn life, we can glide through a lot of things but we can never escape conversations. Every single day of or lives offers us opportunities to strike or participate in conversations with; spouse, kids, neighbors, the coffee shop attendant, colleagues, boss or even strangers. In this case, knowing how to engage and keep a conversation going for as long as it is needed is vital.

Truth be told, not everyone is talented in this. To some, it takes a lot of struggle to break through the shell of introversion and shyness. It takes a lot effort and awkwardness for such individuals to join in conversations. Some opt to completely steer clear from them hence living solitary and lonely lives. There is hope for everyone that falls into this category. These simple steps will guide you into becoming a strong conversationalist.

Types of Bad Conversation Habits

Just because someone is talkative doesn't mean that they are good at conversations. Actually, most great talkers have heavy flaws that put off other people. People might want to mingle with them just for the sake of killing boredom but no one really wants them in their clique of best friends/ confidants. This means that learning how to be good at striking conversation doesn't end there. You also need to learn how to avoid bad conversation habits in order to perfect this vital art of life.

1. Interrupting Other People

It is only considered as a conversation if the other party gets a chance to participate in the conversation. If a person is talkative but doesn't really know how to share the conversation with other people then they tend to shut them out which can be really annoying. Some people tend to push their thoughts and opinions about a subject to other people. It becomes worse if the person is loud hence talking over the other person. This is very offensive and people tend to keep away from such individuals. Before you know it, you will be having conversations with yourself

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2. Yes/No Answers

You can be shy and introverted all you want but a yes/no answer will only make matters worse. Unless you are at an interview, avoid giving short answers to questions. For instance, if someone asks you where you live, you should answer the question and ask the other person a similar question. If you know a person living in their area of residence, you can point it out. Before you know it, the conversation will be flowing.

3. Use of Offensive Words

Never curse or use offensive words around new faces. Remember, people pick up a lot from the very first conversation you have. Some judge your character and personality from the things you say so choose to keep it decent and, for lack of a better word, normal. Curse words and disturbing topics such as; sex, body changes, and private issues may be fine with people you normally 'kick it' with but will definitely not sit well with strangers.

4. Multi-tasking Instead of Listening

Ever tried to hold a conversation with someone who constantly stares down at their phones? It is an absolute turn-off. With the modern sweep of technology, people are constantly keeping their gadgets at hand almost all time. Switch off your phone or put it in silent mode when on a date or at a party. Make yourself available for other people to talk to you.

5. Meddling

There is a big difference between creating a positive conversation flow through positive questions and simply meddling. Privacy is important so learn where to draw the line. If you overstep your boundaries, people will avoid you or even shut you down. Worse still, they will label you as a nosy person. Who wants to mingle with nosy Rosie?

3 Effective Steps in Improving Bad Habits

1. Identify and Accept your Weaknesses

The first step to stopping bad behavior is accepting it. Ever tried to point out a mistake to someone who doesn't even think they have a problem? It is the most annoying because you never get anywhere with that quest. The beginning of improving your conversations skills is accepting your weakness. Most people are aware of their weaknesses while others aren't. Listen to what your friends say about it, swallow your pride and choose to work on it. The more you live in denial the worse your conversation skills will be.

How can you ever change that which you do not accept? It is impossible, especially in this case, to work on bad conversation skills if you are not ready. However, you will achieve satisfactory results simply by accepting that the bad conversation skills are standing in the way of your; ability to make friends, expressing yourself, stabilizing relationships and learning from others. Acceptance leads to an open heart and mind to feed on the positive and end the negative. You will be eager to do better and eventually be better at conversations.

2. Learn How to a Better Conversationalist

Once you have identified and accepted the weaknesses that are hindering you from becoming good at conversations, the next step is finding ways on how to improve on it. It doesn't matter what your weakness is; courage to approach people, courage to speak your mind, chest thumping hence offending others, being too soft-spoken or even being loud and obnoxious, there is hope for you. Simply choose to do the opposite but in moderation and observe people's reactions. You can opt to seek professional help if need be. Before you know it, your conversation skills will be much better and people will actually want to hang out with you.

3. Reward Yourself

There a child in every single one of us. A child who wants a pat on the back whenever they do something right. Every good deed and achievement deserves a reward. It may take you a long time to tame your bad habits but if you keep at it, you definitely will reap positive results. When this happens, always go out of your way to reward yourself. Rewards are highly recommended as they motivate you further to work even harder at taming them and gaining strong conversation skills. Once you set foot in the right path, you'll be more determined to stay on it and never go back to the old bad habits.

"Conversations in the flesh are the first draft towards the later conversations in the mind. Where words and ideas are sorted and elaborated. Recast" Keith Miller Once you learn how to strike and keep conversations going, you will become a more approachable person and even make more friends than you were making before. Go on now, approach a colleague, neighbor or classmate and put your new skills to test.

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