world. Knowing when to initiate a discussion, keeping it interesting by asking
effective questions, sharing your own stories and ending dialogue with kindness
is an art. So, are you a smooth talker? Learn how to create connections in
conversations by following these seven steps:
1. Exude confidence.
When you’re comfortable in your own skin, you make others comfortable. If you take the
attitude that you bring something to the table, you will see that attitude
reflected in others. Remember: Enthusiasm is infectious.
2. Show up with something to say.
Always be on the lookout for material. Although it may sound
contrived, I read The Wall Street Journal looking for interesting, timely
information that I can share at my next get-together: a party, association
meeting or business affair. Think about keeping a file that you can review
before your next event.
3. Begin with a question.
Besides showing interest in someone, one simple question can start an entire conversation. Asking something a bit unusual sets you apart from the crowd. Rather than, “What do you do?” ask,
“How do you enjoy spending your weekends?”
4. Find common ground.
The surest way to build rapport is to find something you have in common and build on that
interest. Don’t shy away from topics that have nothing to do with business. They
often create the perfect connection.
5. Focus on others.
Putting your energy and interest in another person marks you as a great conversationalist. Englishman Raymond Mortimer once described the art of conversation in the United States as
“not tennis, in which you return the other fellow’s serve, but golf, in which
you go on hitting your own ball.” Keep that back and forth volley going with
6. Be inclusive.
Excluding others in the group is a conversation
killer. Make eye contact with everyone in the group, not just the person who
asked you a direct question.
7. Close a conversation with class.
When a conversation naturally lulls, take advantage and say, “It’s been a pleasure
talking with you. I hope our paths cross again soon.” Before leaving, be sure to
thank the hosts.