Have you ever wondered how it would feel if you could make your daily interactions more meaningful? In today’s world, every simple conversation has the potential of developing into an argument, and avoiding people isn’t the answer. Whether you’re talking to a colleague, your significant other, or interacting on social media, you’ll definitely meet someone who disagrees with your point of view, and an argument might begin.
There are several ways that can help you deliver your message without being too aggressive or getting into a defensive mode. Having more meaningful conversations is an art that you can learn. Keep on reading to learn about the best 10 ways to have a more meaningful conversation.
What Is a Meaningful Conversation?
Having a conversation involves having a balance between talking and listening. However, nowadays, more people are polarized and less likely to listen and compromise. This means that they will stick to whatever they believe and ignore any opinion that doesn’t agree with theirs. As a matter of fact, lots of people are misinformed and will make wrong decisions that can eventually harm them on so many levels because they chose to ignore others.
People would believe what they see on a TV or what they read about when they browse the internet but might ignore the truth just because it’s not popular. This is where the conflict begins. These tips will help you have better conversations that both you and the other party will find meaningful and enlightening.
Be Present in the Conversation
If you really want to make yourself heard or understand what the other person is trying to say, you have to be 100% into the conversation. It’s quite common to talk to someone while they’re using their smartphone or writing something on their laptop. If you’re busy, then it’s best to postpone this conversation until you have time to be fully engaged in it.
Not only is it rude not to give the other person your full attention; it actually means that you’re not entirely focused on what is being said. As a result, you’re likely to miss an essential piece of information or might say something that can deeply offend the other person.
Actively listening to someone means to focus on what is being said in the present moment. It might have an effect on your thoughts, and the whole conversation might shift to another direction if you’re paying attention.
People would rather talk than listen because it makes them feel that they’re in control. To have a proper conversation, you should give the other person a chance to talk and actually listen to what they’re saying, as this will be your chance to learn something. Remember the key points and ask for clarification when they’re done talking if you’re confused. “No matter how tempting it is, resist the urge to mention how cool, successful, or awesome you are,” adds Stephen Rudd, public speaker and writer at Legitwritingservices.com. “Talking about your accomplishments is fun, but it might be boring for the other person. Do it only if they specifically asked for it.”
Some people won’t be 100% present in the conversation because they’re wrapped up in their next thought. If this is happening, it means that you’re not listening. You’re only waiting for the other person to stop whatever they’re saying, so you can say whatever is on your mind.
It takes effort and energy to actually listen to someone, but it’s worth it. Otherwise, you and the other person won’t feel that the conversation has added any real value to either of you. Most people don’t listen to understand, but they listen to reply.
Remember that You Have Something to Learn
Work on your mindset regarding the whole conversation. Are you trying to lecture someone, stating your opinion as it’s the ultimate truth? Or are you engaging in a conversation where there would be room for growth?
Preaching someone about what you believe doesn’t usually lead to a productive conversation where you both can learn. It’s important to believe that there are several faces to the truth and that everyone you will meet knows something that you don’t know.
As a matter of fact, if you’re really trying to improve your conversational skills, it’s a good idea to let the other person speak first. This will give you an idea about how to sell your idea or express your opinion based on how they express themselves.
Ask the Right Questions
Asking questions shows that you’re engaged in the conversation and will also give the other person the opportunity to expand their thoughts and become more interested in your interaction. Nobody likes to talk to someone who shows no response. By asking the right questions, you’re showing them that you’re genuinely interested and that you want to learn more, so they will open up. You should be asking for stories and not just answers.
Open-ended questions make the conversation more attractive because people can elaborate. Let people describe their feelings, rather than providing a part of the answer in the question you ask. Very complicated questions can result in simple answers because people might not be able to understand what you mean.
5. Let the Conversation Unfold Naturally
Although you might have exciting questions on your mind, you need to focus on what the other person is saying. You shouldn’t ask a question that doesn’t relate to what the other person is saying because it will seem like it came out of nowhere and will show that you actually stopped listening.
Being on point means that you’re not wasting the other person’s time, something that everyone appreciates. Even if you have a really clever question, you should think about whether it actually relates to the topic or adds value to the conversation. If it doesn’t, you should skip it. You can help steer the conversation back to the points that matter to you by asking about the details, helping the conversation move forward.
6. Don’t Make False Claims
Don’t be embarrassed to say that you don’t know. Remember that you’re held responsible for everything you say, and this is why you need to think carefully before saying anything that might not be true or accurate.
People tend to confuse between what they know and what they believe. Some of the things you think might not be true, and it’s safer to say that you don’t know instead of lying or leading the other person on.
Remember that you don’t have to be an expert on every topic. The idea of having a conversation is to learn something new as well as add value. You might think that you know what the other person should do, but this might not always be true.
7. Remember that it’s Not About You
Some people make this mistake when the other person is talking about a personal experience. If someone is talking about a personal loss or problems they’re dealing with, don’t compare your problems to theirs.
Every experience is unique, and people deal with grief and loss differently. Telling them about how much you’ve suffered or what an amazing person you are won’t make them feel better, and will eventually kill the conversation.
Although you might do it to help them see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, you might not be helping. In some cases, people just want to rant or share, and they won’t be asking for an opinion or advice.
Don’t share yours, unless you’re asked to. If you’re not sure about what to do, ask if there’s something that you can do to help.
8. Don’t Repeat Yourself
Even if you have an interesting point that you want to make, you don’t have to keep on repeating yourself. This won’t make people agree with you and will make the conversation boring. You should remember the key points and move from one to the next.
People tend to repeat themselves because they think that they have a valid point. Remember that you can’t make people change their minds if you don’t make a good argument. Avoid approaching every conversation as an opportunity to sell your opinions.
9. Don’t Worry About the Details
It’s quite common to forget some names or dates when you’re engaging in a conversation. Don’t worry about that. The other person is interested in learning about your experience and how you feel. Forgetting a name doesn’t make you less incompetent.
Focus on what really adds value to the conversation and stay on topic. You shouldn’t also correct someone if they mention a wrong name or date, as this might confuse them. Instead, pay attention to the value every piece of information adds to the interaction.
10. Be Brief
A meaningful conversation doesn’t involve a lot of redundancy where you keep on repeating yourself while mentioning unnecessary details. This won’t make people believe in what you say. As a matter of fact, too many details can make people lose interest in the conversation.
Focus on the main points and avoid digression that makes people confused. Limit yourself to only 2 or 3 of the most critical details, even if you have more to share. This will help you stay on point, so others can understand what you mean.
The art of having meaningful conversations is about learning how to become a better listener and speaker. Hopefully, these tips will help you achieve that.
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