Never Run Out Of Things To Say With Conversation Threading
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Keeping a conversation going can be a huge weight on our shoulders in various types of interactions.
It could be:
- An awkward 5 minutes with the CEO alone in the meeting room
- A long drive with a colleague to a destination alone
- Over dinner when dating the woman of your dreams
- Being with friends and relatives of your spouse
In these circumstances, sometimes you just want to make sure you create some kind of rapport with others.
Because if you are unable to break the silence, a strange dynamic happens that will be tagged to your relationship with that person for a very long time.
Sometimes you even get stereo-typed as a weirdo when someone cannot seem to get comfortable enough to have an engaging conversation with. And this is even when that person made no attempt to lighten up the mood. The onus is totally put on you!
This is especially so in dating.
In dating for example, a lot of expectations are laid on the guy. Among other things, he is usually expected to be the fun person in the interaction and the party responsible to add some spice to the interaction.
And above everything else, surely using conversation to build a relationship of any kind is better use of your time than little to no interaction. You are spending time with that person anyway. So why waste it?
There’s no need to feel stressed out when you get into a situation where your conversational skill are needed.
Here are 4 simple steps to never run out of topics to talk about with conversation threading.
1) Actively listen
Hidden within every statement, comment or response, there is almost always more subjects to talk about as long as you listen carefully.
This is one of the secrets of conversationalists. And it is a puzzle why so many people still don’t pick up on it.
For example, if a lady mentioned “I went for yoga class yesterday in the afternoon”, there are so many things you can pick out to explore further.
- How did you first for involved in yoga?
- How come you prefer to do it in the afternoon?
- Isn’t the night time better for this as you can do it after work?
- Which yoga position do you life best? And why?
- I almost attended yoga as well years ago. And I yada yada yada…
There are hundreds of ways you can spin this. And you will find it effortless with more practice.
Once you get a handle on these basics, you can turn it up a notch by introducing more branches. See conversation as a tree with branches. The more indirectly related topics you get into, the more branches start to grow on the conversation tree.
If we take the previous example:
- Why yoga? Why not something more physically active like tennis?
- Afternoons are the best times for high tea. Have you tried it at the hotel down the road?
- I’ve heard that you need proper nutrition to get really good. How’s you diet plan like?
- I had a wild afternoon yesterday. I was blah blah blah…
As you can see, you can never run out of things to say as long as you make an effort to listen actively. It just takes a little practice before it becomes more of a natural reflex.
You can even use this technique to fully transit from small talk to deep conversations.
2) Actively introduce new topics
There are basically no rules to conversation… unless you are in the presence if kids. You might want to stay away from R-rated subjects if that is so…
But every once in a while a main topic becomes stale and you can’t see any fun in keeping a conversation within the parameters of a boring topic.
Let’s make something perfectly clear here. If you are reading this article, you have taken on the responsibility (burden) of either kickstarting the conversation or keeping it going.
The good part is that you can entice others to get engaged by subtly introducing new topics for them to chase.
You do this by replying with statements with embedded topics. It will then be up to the other party to decide whether they are interesting enough to pick up on.
For example, if a female friend says “I went for yoga class yesterday in the afternoon”, there’s really no necessity to reply by addressing that topic directly.
To created embedded topics, you can try things like:
- Yeah I rate yoga as a fun activity. Together with calisthenics, kart racing, and surfing.
- I have a cousin who does yoga every other day. She is a musician. And I just met her last week in Manhattan.
- Yesterday was a roller coaster for me. I had to bring Momo to the vet in an emergency while I was at work.
As you can see, you can potentially swing a conversation towards any topic you are more knowledgeable in by just adding them as baits for the other person to bite on.
A bad response would be something like “Right. Yoga is nice.”
This can be even more useful in texting as you are able to observe and review what is being written and use some extra few seconds to decipher the code in innocent looking sentences.
3) Use more statements
If you keeping throwing questions at someone, pretty soon, he or she is going to feel like being in an interview for network television.
That not how you would want someone to feel especially when the two of you are not close.
Statements are less intrusive compared to questions.
Sometimes, a responder can feel anxiety like being pushed around as if their replies are being demanded. Statements however, are just comments and people do not need to feel obligated to respond.
This invites them to pick which of the embedded topics you have used in step #2 to dig into.
If you need to ask questions…
4) Ask open-ended questions
There seems to be a lot of varying definitions of what exactly are open-ended questions.
To make it simple, just put it this way:
Any question that cannot be answered with 3 words or less is an open-ended question. However, you would want to target questions that require considerably more words to answer.
The more, the better.
Open-ended questions encourage people to open up about their real opinions and what they really feel inside.
The more they talk, the more the perceptions of rapport is created.
And the more they talk, the more conversation threads you can pick out from their responses to talk about later.
Rinse and repeat
While a lot of people see conversation skills as an art, you can still become a great conversationalist by applying simple principles of social interaction.
And if you truly want to connect with someone, it is essential that you keep conversations flowing at a natural pace and direction to create that magical feeling of rapport.
If need be, just rinse and repeat these 4 steps over and over again to keep the interaction going for hours if required.
Also be mindful not to confuse an engaging conversation with attraction.
You can very well talk to a girl for hours without having her dream about you at night. However, when a woman is hooked into a chat, you will have more opportunities to flirt and generate attraction with your skills.