G005 | Social Skills| Step-by-Step Guide to Develop the Art of Conversation

“Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.” ― Marquis de Sade

Please nod your head if you’ve ever felt that you are not very good at having conversations with new people in a party, new colleagues in your company, or new people in general.

When you decide that you want to walk with a particular person for whatever reasons, maybe you feel that you are supposed to be talking since you are in a social situation which demands so, or that you find that person attractive or for whatever reasons actually, you just feel that your jaws are kind of stuck together and no words can come out. Trust me, lots of people feel the same from time to time.

… But you know you are a nice person, and you want to connect with a particular person. So, what do do?

Well, I have thought about this topic quite a bit like most people and I have read around the subjects as well, I am writing this article as a reminder to myself but I also hope that you find some ideas here helpful for you too.

First, I will talk about the principles for a great initial conversation. Then I will share some tips for the opener. Finally, I will suggest an action plan for you so that you can hone your skills.

I. Principles

  • Mindfulness
  • Good feeling
  • Rapport & Reciprocity

Principle 1: Mindfulness

Have you ever talked with someone and you feel that he is not there with you and that he is actually miles away so to speak? This is obviously a no-no. Mindfulness, in a sense, is an attitude of attention and art of awareness. (mnemonics: 4As) Most people say that eye contact is key, for a long time, I don’t actually know what that means as it does not feel concrete enough. Without moderation, I have found watching the eye movement of your conversation partner to be an easy way to anchor my attention to him, I suggest that you can try this or something similar too.

Principle 2: Good feeling

People like people who are like themselves and people like people like people who like them. I am more or less convinced this is one of the main foundations of social dynamics.

Principle 3: Rapport & Reciprocity

These are two ideas from NLP, I will discuss these two ideas in a separate article.

II. Openers

  • OAR (Observe, Assume, Relate)
  • OO (Opinion Openers)
  • SC (Situation Compliments)
  • AI (Advice Invitation)

I will discuss the first 4 ideas in a separate article.

The KISS principle is basically universal. So, something like “Hi, My name is Ben and I’m a Paris-based IT guy” or “Hi, my name is Ben and I am here because I know Bob” is actually great. Talking about jobs can be a turn-off for certain people, keep this in mind.

Personally, I feel that speaking your mind honestly is indeed the best policy, so, it’s absolutely fine to say, “I feel a bit nervous to talk to new people in this event, I have an intuition that you would be someone easy to talk to, so, my name is Ben and I’m a Paris-based IT guy, you?

III. Action Plan

I will discuss this in a separate article.

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? What strategies do you use to network? Do you have any tip that you can share. Do you have an suggestion? Do you want to me expand on any section. Share your experience in the comments box below.

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