A conversation is interactive. It is a communication where two or more people share news or exchange ideas. I highlighted communication because it is basically about sending and receiving information and it goes both ways. During a conversation, it is important for the message to be understood and properly interpreted and for the recipient to be responsive. No man is an island, therefore we must relate with others through conversations.
Too often, some conversations end up being crappy. A total waste of time. Nothing! Its either you’re finding a hard time passing your message across properly or the recipient is simply not decoding. It can leave you feeling sad and exhausted.
Have you ever finished a ‘conversation’ with someone and felt miserable later on? That experience is totally heart-wrenching! A good conversation should flow very well and make you feel confident. It should be natural and less anxious-filled.
Well, not-so-good conversations happen because we make certain mistakes. Mistakes that today’s post seek to address. If you’re making these mistakes, here’s your chance of correcting and avoiding them forthwith. Conversations should be fun and interesting. It should enable people connect and feel comfortable rather than awkward. Ok, enough of me explaining how conversations should feel like. Let’s delve into the subject already.
- Poor delivery.
Sometimes you know what to say, you have it all inside. But the problem is HOW to say it. The delivery part gets the most of you. Your body language and your voice may not be in cognizant with what you’re trying to say which makes your conversation floppy. Since your voice (and the tone of it), plus your body language is an important aspect of communication, you should 1) learn to speak clearly (not murmur) and speak up so that the other party can hear you very well. 2) let your emotion/feeling convey your message and be reflected in your voice. 3) Take occasional pauses where need be, slow down, so people can actually flow. 4)improve your body language. Your posture, your expression.
- Trying to be in the spotlight alone.
Conversation is a two-way thing. Everyone should be a part of it. Everyone should contribute and participate. It’s not okay for one person’s own voice to be heard alone. There should be a balance between talking and listening. Some people talk non-stop for hours without caring if the people they’re talking with are following. In some instances, someone might be sharing their own story or view and the another person would jump in and hijack the conversation. A good conversation makes enough room for everyone to participate. Don’t interrupt discussions (except it’s really important then you can be excused) or try to divert attention back to yourself. Sometimes in trying to prove that you’re ‘right’ or to win the conversation, it often leads to arguments. Conversations should be fun and be able to put you or leave you in a good mood so you might want to relax, lay back and let others shine too.
- Not being responsive.
If you’re listening, ask questions too. Not just questions, make statements. Don’t ask too many questions or nag about it, you might be putting the other person off. But share your own opinion or how you feel. Share your own experience, please reciprocate. Don’t just sit there and nod to everything. If you’re part of the conversation, then be actually part of it. Be active. It helps to contribute and build rapport during conversations. If someone has shared a personal story, be responsive. Not just in a yes-no manner, be more proactive. If I’ve invested so much time talking with you, I’d like you to do same too rather than just being passive. It leaves the other person feeling awkward. Stop being boring.
- Not listening.
Or have I said this before? Listening is really important during a conversation. What I’ve noticed is, most people don’t listen. Or they listen to judge and criticize. They’re waiting eagerly for their turn to talk with little or no knowledge of what you’ve said or are saying. If you listen, you can get more information about the subject and even understand better. With this, you’re armed with deeper insight on what’s being talked about. You’d know appropriate questions to ask,( if you should) and things to say to make the conversation more interesting. Instead of acting like someone who just woke up from sleep or being too judgmental, you can actually put a hold on your ego and listen to what’s being talked about. Is the subject about fish or meat? Pressing your phone instead of making eye contacts doesn’t send the right signal.
- Using foul languages or sounding rude.
Sometimes cursing, or some of your choice of words might not be appropriate for the conversation to be or end good. You might not know this but some of the words you commonly use with other friends might be offensive to another person. Especially someone you’re meeting for the first time or not too familiar with yet. You should avoid using foul languages, or making sarcastic jokes. There’s a difference between having a sense humor and sounding silly. Know where to draw that line. A conversation is meant to connect you with people and make an impression. Give honest compliments and take compliments as well. Don’t neglect your manners and don’t be too colloquial.
You see, we’re not all perfect, we all sometimes make certain mistakes. What matters is our willingness to try to correct those mistakes, improve our lives and become better. This is mostly achieved through constant practice. Changing our bad habits and adopting better ones. Discovering the change and staying at it.
Good conversations can help our self-esteem, enhance our relationships (professional or informal), and general lifestyle.
So tell me, what are your thoughts on avoiding mistakes made during conversations? If you found this post useful, please also share.
Until next time,