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When you meet people, do you struggle to keep a conversation going? Do you feel like it’s the skill that you need, in order to be able to connect with more people and create new friendships? Holding pleasant and interesting conversations is in fact a great skill to have. It makes people feel comfortable in your company, makes them want to get to know you more and even be friends with you. In this article, I want to share with you some key pointers on how to keep a conversation going, instead of running out of things to say.

You Can Only Get Better At It

The skill of holding conversations is really important for making new connections with the people you meet. I suggest you start practicing it before you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely need it. The good news is that you can practice pretty much anywhere. Practice small talk with any bartenders, waitresses, cab drivers, neighbors, people in line; you name it. Always be ready to polish your conversation skills. As a rule of thumb, try and talk 5% longer than you’re used to doing. You can only get better at keeping conversations going. What happens is that you learn to adapt your topics, and the way you address them, according to the situations you’re in. This happens almost by default; all you have to do is start learning.

It’s The Art Of Being Random

Keeping conversations going is also about being able to jump from topic to topic. You need to start seeing topics of conversation like brain cells that are all connected together, directly or indirectly. Virtually any item in front of you right now is a potential topic of conversation. You can start there, then go on to other related topics (e.g. your cell phone can remind you of the Apple/Android debate, which can remind you of any other sort of debate… maybe a political debate, which can remind of what you were doing during the last election, etc…). This also means that when people mention a story or an experience, you can share a similar one from your life, or from someone else’s life; it can also be something you saw on TV, radio, or the Web. Once you can use this principle to your advantage, you’ll realize that you probably can talk all day if you wanted to.

Your Greatest Conversation Enemy: Filtering

Now that you know that you can talk all day (or all night), you may think “well, I can’t talk about anything, I need to be interesting!” If you happen to run out of things to say, then you probably are filtering yourself too much already. You shouldn’t try to be interesting, but rather try to be more talkative. Imagine this; let’s say that from now on, you’re no longer allowed to say anything that is not interesting, cool, impressive or original, ever. I think we would all agree that you would end up with… not that much to say after all; you’d quickly run out of things to say. This is similar to what many people are dealing with; they filter what they say too much. They think they should only say great things when they meet people, when it doesn’t work that way at all. Instead, you should strive to give yourself more freedom to talk about whatever comes to your mind. This will make you sound more spontaneous and trustworthy, and it’s not that hard to do at all. Just lower your standard of what you allow yourself to talk about. Once you try it, you’ll see that it actually feels more natural than trying to be impressive. People will instantly sense that you’re not trying to impress them, and that you’re perfectly comfortable with who you are; which will make them want to talk to you even more.

The Outcomes Of Good Conversation

A great mindset I’ll leave you with here is the one where you understand the value of small talk and why you should learn it. The purpose of keeping conversations going is to build rapport, find things in common, and make people feel comfortable. When you talk to people, make sure you focus on finding common ground with them. That will create a sense of comfort, and understanding. On that, you can go on to build trust, and kick start new friendships. Best of luck, Paul Sanders

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