Don't you just love awkward conversations?
If this was the case then everybody would be talking to each other no matter what. It’s our fear of awkward conversations that prevent us from talking to people in general. You may be too afraid to speak up because you don’t want to create an awkward situation.
This would happen to me during my in-person lectures during my first year of college. The professor would open the floor for discussion about the current topics we were learning about but I would just stay quiet. Even if I had an honest argument that would blow people’s minds away, I couldn’t build up the courage to speak.
It wasn't until I was forced to meet with classmates outside of class that I learned to build my conversational skills.
Let's say that you’re now afraid of having an awkward conversation but you’re more worried about not being comfortable. This is understandable due to the lack of social cues that people understand. You don’t want to get too personal with that person but you also don’t want to come off as a jerk. Finding a balance between those two things can be hard and ultimately make you feel uncomfortable.
There are simple things that you can do to eliminate these fears. As a matter of fact, there are more than a handful of things you can do. You don’t want to bury yourself with all of these things, you will become instantly overwhelmed and may even become more intimidated by your next conversation.
So, how do you have a nice and comfortable conversation with friends or even complete strangers? There are three things that you can focus on to help you become better in conversation.
Let's take a look at what these three techniques are and how they can be used to help you with your next conversation.
Having occasional eye-contact
If you look at interviews from some of the world’s most charismatic people, they all do one thing that’s the same, which is having eye contact. Pretty cliche advice you may think but it’s a technique that gets overlooked and misused constantly.
When having a conversation your first thought may be to have strong eye contact with the person, which is absolutely ok but you don’t want to make eye contact too aggressive. When looking into somebody’s eyes while they’re speaking or when you’re talking you don't want to appear as somebody who is a psycho.
Save those long and intense eye contact moments for when you eating your favorite dessert.
Having occasional eye contact lets the other person know you’re present in the conversation and you’re not socially awkward. People know how important it is to have eye contact in a conversation so they will also know when you’re trying too hard.
If you’re keeping strong eye contact with somebody during the whole one to two minutes that they’re talking, you are not only making them feel uncomfortable but you’re also making yourself feel the same way. Which ultimately leads to another awkward conversation.
A quick fix to this problem of maintaining too long of eye contact is to watch for the other person’s eyes, you want to look for when their eyes are lighting up to maintain eye contact with them and then when their eyes start to go back into their normal state you can look down.
When somebody is explaining something to you that is either sad or happy they will try their best to look at you when they feel that emotion the most. Having eye contact with them during those moments will let them know that you understand the emotion just as much as they do.
Use eye contact the right way and you will find yourself having more happy and productive conversations.
Slowing down your words
When you’re excited, you might catch yourself talking too fast to the point you even lose your sense of thought. This happens more times than you think, sometimes your friends will even have to remind you of where you left off.
You want to have a sense of direction when having a conversation, more importantly, you want to know the exact point that you want to get across when talking.
Losing your train of thought when telling a story can mess the whole conversation up. In order to prevent yourself from losing that important message you want to bring up when speaking, you can slow down your speech.
Now, some people clown others for talking slow but what they don’t realize is that they wouldn’t learn anything from that person if they were to speak any faster. You also don’t want to be somebody who is constantly repeating themself. Even you know that this can become annoying at times.
Your goal when speaking should be to make sure that the other person is understanding what you’re saying. When somebody can properly understand what you’re saying they will be more willing to listen as well. When you speak at a slower pace than usual you also become more aware of what you yourself are saying.
You can start to plan ahead in your mind of how you’re going to say something next without thinking about what you’re going to say later on. This even works with writing too, if you’re writing an article for an audience you will realize that your article becomes more understandable when you write slowly as well.
People will look at you as a more confident person when speaking because they realize that you’re not trying to impress anybody when speaking, you are taking your time and you know what you’re talking about.
Using your hands when speaking
This is something that looks easy but can actually feel kind of weird when doing it for the first time.
People who are super enthusiastic about what they’re talking about usually use their hands when speaking. They have been doing this for years which makes them so comfortable doing it.
Talking with your hands can be done in many different ways but the one way that seems to work for daily conversation is using your hands with authenticity. When speaking you should only be using your hands when coming across a point that you want the other person to understand.
It's the same method of using eye contact occasionally but with your hands. Your hands shouldn’t be going all over the place every time you say a word.
You can start practicing this with yourself in the mirror. Have a casual conversation with yourself and move your hands when you feel like you need to. Once you get tired of looking at yourself in the mirror, try it with your friends and family and see how they respond to it. They’ll not only look at your hands at first but they’ll start to become more engaged in the conversation.
People will naturally gravitate towards you when speaking with this technique, it becomes obvious that you’re passionate about what you’re talking about. Mix this is with the right amount of eye contact and you will have an easy flowing conversation going.
Don’t forget to have fun when using your hands while speaking. This will help you to shake off all of the nervousness you have when going into the conversation, people will be able to relate to the awkwardness too because you’re not showing it off in a non-genuine way.
Becoming better in conversations just takes some practice and a little bit of a self push. You should have a goal when conversing with someone, if you start to feel uncomfortable during this interaction then go back to the three techniques I mentioned above.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Colleen Hoover that says
“Sometimes not speaking says more than all the words in the world.”