How To Keep Someone Interested In a Conversation: (In-Depth Guide)

This article has everything you need to know about how to keep someone interested in a conversation.

Conversation is not what it used to be, there are more ways to converse today that they’re once was. We can email, text, phone or even video chat if we are not conversing in person.

Whether in physical or virtual tense we need to have conversation sills down to an art, because they are pretty important to many aspects of our lives.

A physical conversation is still the most meaningful one that you can engage in. Deep conversations are fundamentally a more important entity that leaves lasting memories and more embedded impressions of a person’s true self.

It is important not to let social media completely replace that in person experience that means so much. After all, part of having a compelling conversation is to be present.

Some people choose to use their smartphones and other devices because they feel more confident with their conversation abilities.

How To Keep Someone Interested In a Conversation:

Look, conversation is an art (for some it is a skill) and it takes time to hone that skill or perfect the art you are working on. Give yourself a break. Everyone is not born with awesome conversation skills, but no one is exempt from learning them.

Amazing conversations begin when two individuals engage one another whether it be the grocery store or a dinner party. When those two people are comfortable and have common interests it is a recipe for open and interesting dialect.

Learning how to Relax and Converse with a Wide Variety of People

Once you know how to relax you can talk to nearly anyone.

It will help if you can find out a thing or two about the person, although that luxury won’t always be available to you. If you can access a social media profile that is a good way to find out about someone.

Again, this is only helpful if you know you will be meeting the person ahead of time. For those surprise encounters you will just have to wing it.

Or make a mad dash to the restroom with your smart phone in hopes to find them on Facebook or Twitter. However, the latter is a bit “stalkerish” if you ask me.

All you have to do is breathe, and start with an impersonal topic. For instance, is it true that you just got your masters, landed that big project, went skydiving and so forth? Be sure to ask plenty of questions without sounding like an interrogator.

Asking what a person’s hobbies and interests are is totally acceptable. People are at their best and seemingly more comfortable discussing their expertise or their passions.

While the individual is speaking do not interrupt, and do not plan your next comment while they are talking, but do ask questions throughout the conversation for clarity.

A huge part of a having a meaningful and compelling conversation is being a good listener. Make eye contact, use questions that are open ended and gauge the individuals level of comfort as the questions become more personal so you do not go too far.

It is Important to Know how to Inject Inspiration and Invitation into your Conversations

All an invitation is comes down to whatever signals you send that allows another to know when it is their turn to talk. Many times questions are the invitation that engages the other party in the conversation.

Inspiration is the ability to develop a fantastic and engaging topic that intrigues another party making them want to join in on the conversation. Current events are normally very inspirational conversations, and they have the ability to become passionate conversations as well.

You will need to know how to be an active listener. This will apply to all forms of conversation. You are not actively listening when you are always planning what you are going to say next. As a matter of fact this is a sure fire way for a conversation to go nowhere fast.

When you encourage the other person to talk more than you try to talk it is a respectful and more enjoyable conversation that becomes quite compelling.

A compelling conversation is not getting in as many words and points of view as possible before it ends, as a matter of fact, a really compelling conversation is not about you at all.

Dale Carnegie said it the best when he stated that, “It’s much easier to become interested in others than it is to convince them to be interested in you.”

What it comes down to is that you will not be relaxed when you are thinking of yourself and this in return will cause discomfort for the others in the conversation, so relax and forget about yourself for a while.

Let the conversation flow, and learn how to actively listen. If you do not get this part down then you will not ever have a compelling conversation that others want to be involved in.

Differences of Opinion are not Grounds to Argue, Push or Try to Convert Others

A debate has no place in a compelling conversation as we should all have the right do agree to disagree. No one has to be right or wrong.

Use your tone of voice to respectfully disagree when you state your difference of opinion. Do not harp on it, and don’t be rude.

It is generally a great idea to point out his common grounds that exist between you and the person you are talking to before disagreeing though. Never manipulate the conversation to become self-serving or to steamroll someone.

You are not in it to serve an agenda, and it is certainly the wrong way to get your ego boosted.

Social Silence is Okay

While long silences can get awkward, it is completely acceptable for occasional and brief silences to be a part of a compelling conversation. This is especially true over drinks and dinner. Plus, sometimes people like to reflect on the conversation a bit to continue on.

Normally there is a question that looms over a conversation, so do not be afraid to ask it. People are social creatures, and our rules have been created around that concept whether spoken or unspoken.

Politics, Religion and Love?

Many believe that these topics are better left alone. While that is probably best, there are some people who do not get as passionate when others views are different from their even within controversial realms. These are people who may be able to engage in such taboo topics.

Still, out of consideration for the other persons comfort it is probably something better discussed with someone you know well.

For some reason society has deemed love a hush-hush topic too. It is a general rule of thumb that we are not to be nosey, and personal things like love is off limits.

I say if you can discuss any of these things with someone then step outside of the box. As long as they are not threatened or uncomfortable it can make for quite a compelling conversation.

Story Telling and Jokes are Good, but don’t go Overboard

Do not get long winded or become repetitive. You most certainly should not be a conversation hog. There is nothing more annoying that spending the evening listening to bad jokes or long boring conversations.

Remember, what interest you may not interest everyone else, and it is not about you. You can and should tell brief funny stories. Don’t rush your story, and pause for dramatic parts of it.

Real stories are always the best, and remember to share the floor.

If you find yourself in an awkward situation then comment about that. Believe it or not it is an icebreaker because chances are the feeling is mutual. Just be lighthearted and humorous about it, and start with some light conversation from there.

Know When the Conversation Over

Have you ever been on the phone with someone who you have been trying to end the conversation with for more than an hour; well that can happen in a face to face as well.

It is so important to know when a conversation is over, because prolonging it can ruin what was a fantastic event. Even the best conversations have to end, and the passionate ones eventually lose their steam.

Always end on a positive note, and at the end of the encounter smile, make eye contact and say goodbye.

Remember, don’t ask tough to answer or uncomfortable questions. Compliments are great conversation openers. Offer good and lengthy responses.

If someone ask how was your day, just saying fine won’t open the door for conversation, and never put anyone on the spot if you can help it.

SEE ALSO: How To Reset Yourself Mentally: [In-Depth Guide For Tired People]

What Happens When There is Nothing to Talk About?

Compelling conversations can be a stressful thing to manage. Whether you are starting a conversation, breaking an awkward silence or just getting to know an individual it can be a challenge.

Sometimes there just isn’t anything that comes easily to talk about, and if you find yourself in this predicament it is important to act fast.

If acceptable, introduce yourself, and stay approachable. Smiling and offering up a handshake are good ideas as well. If you’ve passed this point make a remark concerning the location or the event, but try to avoid the weather, as this can be even more awkward.

The exception is if there is something out of the ordinary about the weather and in that case by all means use it to your advantage.

Otherwise you’re better off saying something like “I do not know why these situations are always so awkward for me, I’m sorry,” and move into a discussion about your surroundings or complementing the individual on something than you will be talking about the heat or the rain.

An open ended question may be your conversation salvation. People live to talk about themselves. Small talk will keep the flow, and before you know it you won’t even have to try hard to keep it going. Just make sure you are synchronizing the conversation and sharing the floor.

Calling the person by name before addressing them from time to time is a spectacular way to really engage them.

Be conscious of your internal monologue. Do nod, cringe or smile in response rather than speaking when acceptable and so not to interrupt. Do not allow any negative feelings to show through and don’t worry about what they are thinking of you.

Do not play into self-doubt, and keep the conversation going by thoughtfully responding to their questions and invitation.
When it is your turn to take the floor in a conversation another person started then you can offer personal thought and input without overdoing it.

You can talk about yourself or anything you feel is acceptable. It may feel a bit unnatural in the beginning, but it will get easier.

Plus, this as well as other times you get to lead oe engage in conversations it is improving your skills, so embrace the opportunities to interact with people.

A bit About Conversation Flow

Everyone has had a conversation that they have thoroughly enjoyed, and that is a good encounter to reflect upon when looking for conversation clues.

In a compelling and engaging conversation the flow of conversation is smooth from one person to the next. Topic transitions are natural and there are not any awkward times spent wondering if it is time for you to speak or where to go with it next.

That is conversation flow.

Sometimes it is automatic, and other times conversations need a little help to find their flow. This is where inspiration and invitation comes into play as we discussed earlier.

These will pave the way for the conversation to flow. They are both vital elements to a smooth and comfortable conversation and also to its flow.

Invitation and inspiration are easy to learn building blocks for enjoyable and compelling conversations to take root. Just imagine if you will that you are employed in a deli that may be a bit worse for wear where organization is concerned.

With half of the things that you need on one end of the bar and the other half of the things you need on the other end of the bar you will have to stand at opposite ends to make a sandwich, and the exchange will be back and forth, right?

This sandwich is an example of conversation.

Much of our lives will be spent in conversation. When you can advocate your position in the conversation you are on your way, however many fall back on their default abilities. While this may get you by, a compelling conversation will only happen to these people incidentally.

Learn to paraphrase and explain understanding gaps as well. This will help the conversation be more compelling and interesting. Make sure you do not become overbearing or insulting if you are advocating your own stance on things.

There are some mistakes people make in conversations and never even know it.

Commonly Made Mistakes in Conversations

People make unintentional mistakes in conversation every day, but anyone can improve their conversation skills. While breaking bad habits, even in conversation, may be difficult in the beginning this too is possible for anyone who wants to get better at communicating.

Some bad habits are but are not limited to the following situations. After all, change only comes after the problem is identified.

When you are not an effective listener you can count on a poor or mediocre conversation. Ernest Hemingway said,” I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

You should not sit on the edge of your seat waiting on someone to finish talking just so you can talk.

Shut that ego off and learn to really listen to people. paraphrase, make eye contact, ask questions and engage your body language in the conversation with nods and smiles or eve grimaces if acceptable.

Once you learn to listen you will be shocked at how much more you learn about people and the world you live in.

Do not get into the habit of asking too many questions. Don’t get me wrong, questions are good. Open ended questions when acceptable are great, but becoming an interrogator is not good.

Open a conversation with a question and allow the flow to take over from there only asking another to continue the natural flow or to gain clarity.

Tightening up is not uncommon with inverts or people you just met, but it has to be overcome. Those awkward silences are conversation killers and it makes everyone involved a bit uncomfortable.

Poor delivery is another thing that happens a lot with the more socially awkward type, and it is something that can be overcome as well. It is not what you say, it is how it comes across.

Slow down and speak up.

Make sure you are talking clearly and be confident even if it is pretend confidence. You will be surprised at how fast it becomes natural. Do not detach, but speak with emotion, use body language and pause where acceptable.

This will make the conversation more interesting as well.

It is so easy to become excited over something you are passionate about, interested in or the like, but there is no room for a conversation hog in a compelling conversation.

Most of us have been guilty of it from time to time, but it is against all goods conversation etiquette. If you find you are doing it, ask for them to “excuse your behavior, explaining it is something that really moves you and offer the floor up to another. At least this way you will save some face.

There has to be a balance between the talking and the listening.

No one has to be right, as we can all disagree without anyone’s point of view or belief being right. What is right for one may not be for another and we are all entitled to our own beliefs. Avoid arguing with people or trying to push your views onto them.

Leave the out of ordinary, weirs or just plain negative topics out.

No one really wants to be around a kill joy, and while many may have sympathy about your health, break up or even be intrigued with your strange obsession with serial killers no one truly wants to hear you go on about it and most won’t know how to respond do it.

The only thing that may be worse or at least as bad is being a complete bore. If you lead an interesting life you are likely to lead an interesting conversation though.

Like Dale Carnegie stated, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one.”

Try to let go and explore.

What I mean is do not hold on to one topic for dear life. Let the flow happen. Most like diversity in a conversation and plenty of it. Still, you must be able to reciprocate in a conversation that ranges over many topic comfortably.

Not reciprocating is almost rude, and it makes everyone uncomfortable. Notice how everything good in a conversation is based on comfort and flow. Make sure that you are contributing to the conversation and not merely nodding and offering up short answers.

SEE ALSO: How To Develop Social Awareness Skills: [New 6-Step Guide]

The Phenomenal Conversationalist

We all know a phenomenal conversationalist.

You know, they guy that seems to effortlessly engage people casually from coworkers to a total stranger. While he may have natural charm and charisma conversation is a skill he had to practice to perfect.

Anyone can converse with people as smoothly and effortlessly, or at least seemingly so.

Things to Do when Conversing

Don’t talk as much as you listen.

The twist to conversing is that it is not about talking as much as it is about listening!

Many fall victim to what is now as conversational narcissism. Ask about others and be genuinely interested in what they are saying. Before you speak, think of what you have to say and whether or not is is appropriate at the time.

What Not to do

Do not interrupt or abruptly change the subject on someone’s angle while they have the floor. Everyone deserves a response, and if they don’t maybe you shouldn’t be conversing with them at all.

Esquire Etiquette magazine said back in the 50’s that “The obvious one, interrupting the speaker in mid-sentence, is easy to avoid: just wait until the other has stopped talking before you start. (And don’t ever say, “Have you finished?”)

If there are several people in a conversation it is important to talk to everyone.

There is no one upping and keep the overshares to intimate or personal situations. Don’t ask people if you are boring them. Not only is the question embarrassing, they are most likely not going to say “yeah.” All you have to do is read their body language.

I mean, of you have to ask…

Do not be over analytical, and most importantly be yourself.

Esquire Etiquette also advises that “You’ve often heard that what you say and how you say it is a first impression give-away to your character and your background-but there’s a sleeper in that bromide: It’s a bigger give-away to pretend to be something you are not then to be what you are without apology.

No matter what the lady-books say about “cultivated speech,” a man’s speech had best not be cultivated; it ought first of all to be natural…The pretty politeness of speech you find in the girls’ books are not for you, sir.

If you mean “Sorry,” say “Sorry”-not I’m so sorry,” not “I beg your pardon.” If you mean that the dinner was damned good say so; don’t mince around with uneasy words like “exquisite” or “lovely.”

Leave the “my dears” to the aged, and “do comes” to the feminine gender. And forget about the supposedly gallant phrases like “Allow me” and “After you.” It is not etiquette to say things the long way or the fancy way. Be yourself. Be a man.”

You Can Have More Meaningful Conversations

A conversation should never become wasted time. Something productive should come from every conversation. After all, out time is important, and in conversation we are in many ways sharing a part of ourselves with another person.

You have to understand that just like you can tell when someone is not truly listening others can tell the same about you. When you ask good questions and paraphrase as well as engage body language others know you hear them, and that will go a long way.

Trying to genuinely relate to people is important too. Don’t just waste you or other people’s time.

If it is forced and you can not identify with them then let it go if you are in a respectable situation that will allow you to do so. Otherwise, allow the individual to talk first.

Asking an open ended question and letting them talk about themselves is normally a good way to do this. Be a good listener and remember all of the key points so that when you respond it will be meaningful.

Recognize more of others and put less focus on you. Be willing to leave the conversations basics when it is time, and take it to another level. If your counterpart engages that is great, if not go back to the basics.

Conversation Skills are Vital in the Workplace

You know that good conversation skills are important, but do you know they are vital to your career and growth therein? You can have all of the most awesome technical skills out there, but if you don’t have conversation skills the job is likely going to someone who does.

It is however something that will thrust you forward on many levels of your life. In person conversation skills are one of the most important things you will ever learn and something you should never stop trying to improve.

Thank you for reading this article about how to keep someone interested in a conversation and I really hope that you take action my advice.

I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here