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How to make conversation with people

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Try to relax, smile, laugh and listen
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How to make conversation with people is an art that can be learned

Cringe: The dreaded small talk. You are at a required business function with your partner. You were expected to attend and you did, but you donít know a soul.

Striking up conversations with complete strangers has never been your forte but sitting like a wallflower in the corner, tucked behind the palm tree, isnít an option either. Your spouse expects you to mingle. How to make conversation with people is something we should all innately know how to do, but donít.

Some people simply arenít good at talking. They may be quiet and a person of few words or theyíre painfully shy, particularly among strangers.

Once you have actually moved into the center of the room and are within striking distant of people, one thing you need to keep in mind is to listen to what is being said when you do become engaged in a conversation.


Letís say you have introduced yourself to a group of women and they have welcomed you into their circle. Donít just stand there pretending to listen, actually do it. When you listen to what is said itís easy to come up with appropriate questions and comments.

However, do not over compensate and become the grand inquisitor. Donít ask too many questions because it can sound as though you are interrogating the person.

Ask questions and then make some comments that are statements.


Itís a good idea to keep abreast of the news so you know what people are talking about and can contribute. Is there a TV show that is all the rage? Hopefully, youíve watched it and can toss in your two cents.


When you talk, donít talk too fast. Donít mumble. Speak loudly enough that people can hear what you are saying. If you are enthused about something, itís okay to show that. No one wants to talk to someone who sounds like an automaton with no emotion.

Taking time to pause between sentences or thoughts creates causes anticipation and people will be drawn to you because you are delivering your story well and they are interested in what you are saying.


Be aware of your body language. Make eye contact and donít cross your arms or legs because this comes across as defensiveness. When someone is talking, nod your head. This is an indication that you are listening. Leaning in toward the talker also shows that you are interested but do not violate the three-foot personal space rule. Absolutely do not stand too close to the other person because this may make them feel very uncomfortable and they might unknowingly back off a ledge just to get away from you.

Laugh, relax and smile. You donít always have to be so earnest and serious.


Ask people about themselves. Most people are all too ready to talk about their lives. If you appear to be genuinely interested in the personís dogs or kids or kidney stones they will keep talking and you wonít have to say a whole lot.

If you have the floor, know when to give it up. Do not bore people to death with a 20 minute non-stop monologue about your recent abscessed tooth. Five minutes (or less) will suffice. Some topics are really boring; maybe not to you but to others. Take that into consideration. You can mention that your daughter won a trophy for water skiing but do not drone on about it forever.

The more you know about stuff, the more you are able to contribute to most any conversation. Get your head out of the sand and pay attention to what is going on in the world.

You can always start a conversation by complimenting someone. Say, "I love your shoes," to the lady who is standing next to you." She may say "Thanks" and that's it but she may have a story to tell about her shoes. You are off and running.


Do not be one of those people that is purposely confrontational and insists on starting a fight over who is going to win the World Series or which brand of pizza is best. An argument at a party may be the death of the party and wonít score you or your spouse any points with bosses, co-workers, friends or neighbors.

Another thing to steer clear of is talking about really personal stuff, such as your next door neighborís lack of hygiene or the horrible relationship you had right before you met your husband. Save that for your close friends.

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