Knowing how to talk to anyone is an important life skill to have. It is useful not only in social situations, but also for your career and relationships.
An individual possessing the confidence to approach another person and initiate a conversation will have an edge in establishing a network for their career. It also makes a good impression in friendly or even romantic situations.
How to talk to anyone without losing your cool
To acquire good conversation skills, learn how to overcome the fear of making the approach and deal with the anxiety of socializing. It may be a difficult and unnerving process at the start. But with the right frame of mind and some practice, anyone can easily learn how to talk to anyone. [Read: How to decipher between social anxiety and shyness]
#1 Always keep yourself presentable. Keeping yourself presentable at all times eliminates self-consciousness. If made into a habit, this will physically prepare you at all times. It will give you that needed boost of confidence to easily approach anyone.
Being presentable doesn’t mean you have to be dressed to kill most of time. Even with casual clothes worn in the appropriate manner, you can manage to be presentable for a conversation. [Read: Social anxiety to social butterfly – How to be less awkward]
**Observe proper grooming. Having a conversation with an unkempt and filthy person makes people uneasy. Always ensure that you practice basic hygiene and have your hair fixed.
**Mind your posture. People can tell a lot about your personality just by observing your posture. Standing up straight, keeping your head and shoulders upright exudes confidence which will make people more responsive to you if you attempt to talk to them.
**Smile. Needless to say, starting a talk with a smile breaks social barriers and initial stranger apprehension. Smiling doesn’t only make you friendlier, but also increases your physical attractiveness. [Read: 16 easy hacks to loosen up and live life]
#2 Practice your conversation starter in front of a mirror. Learning how to talk to anyone can be easily achieved by practice. If you’re uncomfortable to start talking to strangers, practice alone in front of a mirror. From there, observe how your approach looks like from the perspective of the person you’re talking to. Giving you the chance to alter and improve your style of approach.
**Note your facial expression. Do you start off with a smile, an expressionless face, or with a frown? Remember that smiling helps.
**Keep yourself at a friendly distance. Approaching too close can be uncomfortable, especially with strangers, while being too far will make it difficult for the other person to hear what you’re saying. The suggested “friendly” distance is enough for you to offer a handshake without having to lean further in.
**Always maintain eye contact. Eye contact is important as it shows respect and that you’re giving them your full attention when they’re speaking. In addition, the ability to maintain eye contact when conversing is a sign of confidence and sincerity. [Read: 10 very subtle body language moves that’ll make you appear way more confident]
**Use hand or body gestures. Gestures can enhance the quality of your conversation by helping you give emphasis to your piece while also adding that signature flair to your overall appearance. With appropriate gestures, others will pay more attention to what you’re saying and even convince them to agree to your point.
#3 Try relaxation exercises prior to starting a conversation. Being in a relaxed state prior to talking to another person is important. It allows you to speak clearly and gather your thoughts and confidence. For good measure, try some simple relaxation exercises prior to opening the conversation. [Read: Easy mantras that can transform your life]
**Take deep breaths. Deep breaths stabilize your heart rate and gives you time to prepare before you head into the fray.
**Swallow and clear your throat. Remember the last time when you attempted to speak and your voice sounded broken and off pitch? Swallowing and clearing your throat prior to speaking helps avoid that.
#4 Use the appropriate opening line. Your opening sentence can make or break the conversation. That’s why it is important to know the different ways to start the talk and the different situations to use each conversation starter. [Read: 25 great conversation starters that’ll work no matter where you are]
**Use the environment to your advantage. If you’re talking to someone attending the same concert, start the conversation with a comment on the performance. If you find yourself in an exhibit, then use any of the art pieces as the topic of your conversation. Your surroundings can give you an endless number of topics useful in starting a conversation.
**Ask an open-ended question. Questions are fool-proof conversation starters as the rules of social etiquette dictate that it is polite to respond to a person when asked. Open-ended questions, in particular, keep the conversation going.
**Start with an acceptable compliment. An exaggerated compliment may sound insincere. Opt for an acceptable compliment. Keep an eye out for unique features such as tattoos, ornaments, or personal items which will be good topics for a conversation starter. [Read: How to instantly fit in with funny conversation starters]
#5 Learn the proper way to keep a conversation going. If you’ve managed to master the art of starting a conversation, the next hurdle is learning how to keep it going. In its natural course, conversations keep on going if the speakers find the topic engaging and the person they’re speaking to interesting and entertaining.
**Do not linger on small talk. One of the keys to understanding how to talk to anyone is that small talk is good, but for starters. If you linger too much on inane lines of inquiry, expect the conversation to be cut short.
**Keep the conversation neutral as much as possible. Ideal conversations should be something neutral and not about yourself. A person making themselves the topic of conversation can be perceived as arrogant and narcissistic which can cut the conversation short due to the other person being put off.
**Change topics when you’re nearing an awkward silence. Maintaining a conversation is just a rinse-and-repeat process. If you feel you’re beginning to exhaust the topic, break out a new topic and ask the other person a question.
#6 Note proper etiquette in conversations. Knowing proper etiquette in a conversation allows it to flow smoothly and make it a more enjoyable experience. In addition, it decreases any chance of eliciting negative emotional reactions. With proper conversation etiquette, you establish yourself as someone respectful and considerate of the person you’re talking to.
**Don’t forget to introduce yourself. People tend to forget that it is polite to introduce oneself to the person they’re talking to prior to making further conversation. You may choose to do this at the beginning of the conversation or right after your opening line. Make it a point that you never end the conversation without exchanging names with the other person. [Read: How to introduce yourself and make a great impression]
**Listen intently when the person is talking. A conversation a two-way communication which calls for you to listen intently when the other person is speaking. Listening intently shows respect and also helps you to get ideas on how to keep the conversation going. [Read: Golden rules that will help you become a better person]
**Avoid interrupting the other person. Interrupting a person in the middle of speaking is very rude, even more than inattention. Avoid this in a conversation, and it will go on without any issue.
**Avoid making assumptions and judgement on the other person. Jumping to conclusions, making assumptions, and judging remarks are conversation red flags that must be avoided when talking to anyone. A single offhanded comment may offend the person you’re speaking to. In turn, it may cut the conversation short on an unpleasant note.
**Refrain from “one-upping” the other person. Keep the conversation light. Don’t make it a bragging show of who’s better than the other. Even if the person you’re speaking to falls within that category, just listen to them. Don’t attempt to one-up them.
**Apologize if necessary. There will be moments where you’ll get carried away and mention something off-putting or even borderline offensive. If that happens, it won’t hurt to apologize. Simply explain that you didn’t mean making such a statement.
#7 Take note of sensitive topics in conversations. Religion, politics, sexuality are just some of the topics to avoid in polite conversation. Since these topics can elicit different opinions from different people, there will be a chance that a conversation will end up as a heated debate. [Read: How to keep a conversation going with the opposite sex without making things awkward]
#8 Be aware of the current mood of the conversation. Always make it a point to get a feel of the mood of the conversation. There will be times when conversations may get too serious, depressing, or even distasteful. There’s a risk of the conversation becoming uncomfortable. But if you’re sensitive enough to anticipate the conversation souring, you can lighten the mood. Try and divert the topic to a different course.
#9 Know how to politely end the conversation. Just as you made a good start, conversations must have a proper end. Excusing yourself promptly for some reason is impolite especially if you started the conversation in the first place. A polite ending is waiting for the right moment and letting the person you’re speaking to initiate the end of the conversation. [Read: 25 ways to make anyone like you]
#10 Thank the person for their time and attention. Always appreciate the time and attention given to you by the person you talked to. Even if the conversation was short or uneventful, thanking the other person gives you an image of courtesy and social adeptness.
[Read: How to make a good first impression with anyone you meet]
Learning how to talk to anyone is a skill that will give you an edge in every aspect of your life. it may take a few tries, but as long as you remember these key details, you’ll be remembered as a wonderful conversationalist every time you talk to someone.
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