Want to know how to talk to anyone naturally? Then you’re in the right place.
How are you in conversation? Do you often feel like you need help to pick up on social cues and ideas for conversation starters?
Perhaps social speaking doesn’t come naturally to you but you need to learn how to do it easily for work or social situations.
After reading this post, you’ll have the tools necessary to start conversations and talk easily to most everyone, even public speaking!
Many people find that shyness is a contributing factor in a lack of good communication skills.
Shy people are sometimes perceived as arrogant or too unintelligent to keep up with the conversation.
For a person struggling with shyness, the panic and nervousness that sets in during conversations can be debilitating, resulting in sweaty hands and stammering starts and stops in their speech.
Even if you are struggling with this impediment, this an article will teach you how to overcome your struggle and talk to anyone easily.
We as humans do not just communicate with our speech; our body language plays a large part in effective communicating.
You can have all the right words, but if you’re using the incorrect body language, people will not stick around to listen.
We will teach you how to have an open, easy stance during informal conversations and even commanding body language for those times you need to direct the crowd or be in the spotlight.
Body language can give clues as to what you’re feeling, along with the words coming out of your mouth, so you need to understand the importance of this tool in communication and master it.
The final puzzle piece to excellent communication skills is is to listen to others.
This may seem surprising, since this text is ostensibly about learning how to talk to people, but this is also a good tool to create meaningful conversation that creates a desire for others to listen to you in return.
Maintaining eye contact with someone else and accurately following along with their words gives validity to your conversation partner, and you will learn how to succeed in those areas in this article.
You will also learn to remember their name, discern facts and ideas to maintain the conversation and more talking tips.
All of these tricks and ideas blend together to create an expert conversationalist who has the confidence and know how to start, maintain and finish a great conversation!
How To Talk To Anyone Naturally:
1. Listening First
This may seem a strange first step in an article about talking, but this is such an important tool in good conversation.
In order to stay relevant and relate to others while talking, you need to be able to listen well to what they are saying.
A good conversation is a combination of two or more people exchanging thoughts and ideas, more of a give and take than a one person monologue.
To be a great speaker, you also need to practice your listening skills.
Show interest in the topic or concern for the situation your conversation partner is talking about. Ask questions. Do not interrupt the speaker.
Make good eye contact while speaking and listening. If you can master these skills, people will enjoy talking to you because they will feel that you actually listen.
2. Start Conversations
This post says it will teach you how to talk to everybody, and that is a good lesson to practice.
Talk to everybody.
You don’t just reserve your talking skills for the important people; you build up your confidence and ease by learning to start conversations with many people.
Choose people that have even the smallest connection to you, such as your waiter at dinner, the parking attendant or the teller at the bank.
These are great opportunities to brush up on the skills that make you a great conversationalist, and they also provide great chances to just engage with people and give yourself a mental boost.
If you can learn to be very confident with striking up conversations with anyone, then you will not be shy when it comes to the conversations that count.
3. Practice, practice, practice
As with anything in life you want to be good at, you need to practice until you are at the level you are happy with.
You can’t decide to just become a great conversationalist overnight and get it; you need to practice until you get there.
Now, this doesn’t have to take very long, but it does require you exercising these tips until you are comfortable using them in normal conversation.
Start conversations, as mentioned in the last tip, and make sure that you are fitting your talk to the person you are addressing.
There are some basic skills that are great to practice over and over.
Making eye contact, showing interest, refraining from interruption and discovering a mutual interest and talking about it are some things that are good to practice.
4. Do your research
If you have the opportunity, it can be a great help to do a little research before a conversation.
For instance, if you know you have a work party in one week and you want to have some meaningful conversations, find out a little about your coworkers or boss.
This will give you an edge in what topics you speak about at the party.
If you have a plan to attend a party, ask about the hosts and what their interests are or where they work.
If you discover that you have any common likes or dislikes, you will walk into your party armed with multiple topics to use as conversation starters, interesting tidbits and genuine commonalities to talk about, resulting in a great talk that will leave a great impression!
5. Their boyd language counts, too
You need to understand that other people’s body language is also very important.
You can read into someone’s body language to understand if they are in a positive or negative mood, to determine their interest and to confirm if they are engaged in what you are saying.
You would never want to stand there and remain speaking with someone who indicates with their body that they are uninterested or anxious to move on.
Some common body language cues that signal you should end your conversation are: arms folded, body turned away, continuously looking for others in the room, lack of eye contact, antsy behavior and general lack of attention or response to what you are saying.
If you see an open stance, friendly expression, genuine interest in your conversation, body fully turned towards you, good eye contact and appropriate responses after you finish a sentence, then you can be assured your conversation is going well.
6. Maintain eye contact
Just as with body language, each person maintaining eye contact while talking creates a meaningful conversation.
Eye contact implies interest, so if you maintain that while talking, you are telling the other person or group that you are engaged in the conversation and interested in what they are saying.
It can be so annoying to try and talk to someone who looks everywhere but directly in the eye of the person they are talking to.
This behavior can seem antsy, dishonest and uninterested and it can be distracting, so avoid this at all costs simply by directing your gaze on the person you are in the conversation with.
7. Grab a conversation buddy
There are some of us that simply struggle to keep conversations going.
If you’re new to figuring all this out and want an easy way to try and build your talking skills, enlist the help of a friend that excels in conversation to help you out.
Be open and honest about your shortcoming and let them know that you would like their help in navigating a conversation.
This way, if you run out of things to say, your friend can step in to keep the conversation flowing and direct it back to you when you are ready to take the helm again.
There are some people who love to talk and are naturally gifted in this area, as well as those who have simply mastered the tips outlined here.
Either will work, just be clear up front that you need help and tell them what you are hoping to accomplish.
They can also observe you in conversation and give you some pointers on your strong points and areas to work more on.
SEE ALSO: How To Be Good At Small Talk: The Ultimate Guide To Conversation
8. Be the first
Even if you do not struggle with shyness, it can still be a little daunting to open a conversation.
The easiest way to do this is just to go for it and say hello first. Follow that up with a question as simple as, “How are you doing?”
This puts you in charge of the conversation and while they are responding, you can form your response and next question.
Breaking the ice is important (1) to show your ease and skill with conversations.
It also puts other people at ease for someone else to take charge of the conversation.
It is a good idea to come up with a repertoire of conversation starters and follow up questions in your mind so that when an opportunity for conversation presents itself, you can effortlessly pull something from your list and jump right in!
9. Keep it neutral
One of the worst things you could do would be to meet someone new, then launch straight away into sensitive topics.
This makes the entire conversation uncomfortable, and it will leave a bad taste in the mouth of your conversation partner.
In general, stay to neutral topics when talking to someone new, such as what’s going on locally, the upcoming weather and mutually interesting topics.
These may seem lame, but they really do work when you want to have a friendly, no pressure conversation.
As you learn more about the person, you can venture into deeper territory with your subject matter, but it is usually best to stay away from religion and politics.
These are two topics that it is incredibly rare two strangers agree on, so it’s not the best way to jump into a conversation with anyone.
Keep it light and neutral and build from there.
10. Ice breakers
Did you know that pretty much anything can be an ice breaker?
You just need one topic to break into a conversation with anyone and many times, that topic ends up being something mundane.
You can talk about the décor, such as pointing out something unusual in the design.
You can talk about the food, the weather, the host or hostess of the party, the local news tidbits that are making the headlines (no politics) or you can complement something about another person to open up a conversation.
There is a vast range of topics you can pull from to jump into a conversation, and many of these topics lead to deeper topics that provide the meat of the conversation and keeps in going.
It doesn’t have to be amazing, but anything to break the ice is a good thing, and once you’re past the initial awkwardness of breaking the ice with a stranger, you can actually have a good talk.
11. Know how to end the conversation
Knowing how to end a conversation is just as important as knowing how to start one.
You never want to be the person awkwardly standing there, the conversation having trailed off minutes ago.
That’s a weird, uncomfortable feeling and a good conversationalist would never be caught in such a way.
In another instance, you need to provide closure to a talk when you have to abruptly move on.
In either scenario, never just leave a person or a conversation hanging.
Find a way to say something like, “It was wonderful meeting you, lets’ talk after dinner”, or “I’ve really enjoyed our conversation, do you want to exchange information and talk again?”
If you are in a hurry, make sure to leave with a quick apology for the abrupt departure and a proper goodbye, such as, “Sorry I have to run, but it was great meeting you.”
This leaves your talking partner feeling validated and with a good impression of you.
12. Respond fully to questions
No one word answers here!
It is incredibly annoying for anyone to ask a question in a conversation and be met with a short response or non-descript answer in return.
People are asking questions because they actually want to learn things about you, so you need to make sure you are giving appropriate responses to these questions.
If you do this, you will also get full answers in return, making for a full bodied conversation.
Many times, these answers pave the way for deeper topics and more in depth conversation.
For instance, if you answer curtly that bananas are your favorite fruit, most people don’t have anywhere to go with that.
If you respond instead with something like, “My favorite is banana and I love it so much, I brought back a banana tree from Costa Rica and planted it in my container garden.”
This response allows someone to ask you about your travels, the country of Costa Rica, your trip out of the country, your container garden and your home.
See the difference?
You’ll get nowhere with short answers, so think it through and give some well-rounded responses full of new topics to talk about.
13. Give and take
You need to create balance in a conversation. You don’t want to be the one doing all the talking or all of the listening.
You need to do equal parts of both.
You talk for a bit and ask a question, then let them answer and talk for a bit without interrupting.
This ebb and flow creates a smooth conversation where everyone feels like they have a turn to both listen and share something themselves.
People will walk away from a conversation hog that does all the talking, and people are especially annoyed by someone who interrupts or talks over them.
Avoid these things at all costs and make sure you are engaged, attentive and sharing the conversation space.
14. Share something personal
At the start of a conversation, as another way to break the ice, you can share something about yourself.
Something funny or unique or just a common interest. You can comment that you have the same shoes, jacket, purse or sunglasses.
If you see someone admiring a piece of art or listening to music, you can comment that you really enjoy those things, too.
These openers lead to deeper topics and put people at ease, and knowing that you so willingly shared something of yourself inspires people to share things about themselves.
In the course of a conversation that’s already going, you can share something personal to change the direction of the talk, such as saying you’ve been wanting to go see a certain movie, or you really like the local sports team.
It’s important to share personal details like this in good conversation.
Don’t get overly personal with details until you know the person, though. That can be awkward and puts too much of yourself out there.
Just keep it simple and lightly personal.
SEE ALSO: How To Be Good At Small Talk: The Ultimate Guide To Conversation
15. A little quiet is okay
Most people assume that silence in a conversation is a death knoll for your talk.
If the silence stretches on and on without anyone saying something, that may be true, but short periods of quiet can be a good thing.
They can give everyone a chance to regroup and say something fresh.
If the quiet goes on for too long and it is making you uncomfortable, you can start talking about a fresh topic or you can end the conversation.
Most people panic in these situations, so if you handle it smoothly, you will put others at ease when the silence stretches on.
16. Don’t be judgmental
Most of us make snap judgements on people we’ve just met.
Sometimes, you don’t even intend to do it, but you make assumptions about people (2) based on how they are dressed, the way they act, their personal grooming or the way they handle themselves in a conversation.
It’s a mistake to jump to conclusions, as many people may find it awkward to break into conversation and it takes a little while for them to feel comfortable, let their guard down and engage in an enjoyable talk.
It is advisable to hold off on any judgements until you’ve had a chance to speak with them and length, hear their opinions and interests and have a real conversation.
Many friends or great networking opportunities have been missed because of hasty judgements, so keep an open mind when starting conversations and meeting new people.
17. Watch for social cues
This one kind of goes hand in hand with paying attention to body language, but it is also important to watch for social cues.
With people, particularly when conversing with a group of people, there can often times be underlying things at play.
You may be in the midst of a great conversation, but if someone else walks over and you included them in, the conversation goes dead…but why?
If you were paying attention, you may have noticed that your conversation partner displayed antsy body language or looked uncomfortable when the other person walked into the room.
You may not know it, but there may be a negative history between these two people and by inviting the second person to join in the conversation, you’ve done the equivalent of silencing any further good conversation.
There are hundreds of social dynamics you may not know, but if you learn to pay attention to the social cues, you can stay current and avoid any messy or uncomfortable situations.
You can also use social cues to know who to converse with, which groups work well in conversation together and when to tread lightly.
It’s really just an invaluable tool to have in becoming a great conversationalist, so stay alert to these clues.
18. Be open to learning new things
This may come as news, but you don’t know everything!
That’s a joke, but in reality, you need to be open to learning something new in conversations.
Every single person you encounter is unique and probably has something interesting to share that you do not know.
Conversation is a wonderful way to learn new things and also share things with others that they might not know.
Take the time to listen to what the other person is saying and if you don’t know anything about the subject, let them know.
They can then tailor what they are saying to someone who has never heard of the topic.
This will be exciting for them, and give deeper value to the conversation if someone is sharing and another person is learning new things.
By all means, if someone is every saying something and you have no idea what it is, do not just agree or imply that you understand the conversation.
This will always come back to bite you!
If this situation occurs, you can choose to say you don’t know anything and ask that they explain the topic or you can decide to exit the conversation at that point with a polite goodbye.
If you have read and mastered all of the tips in this article about how to talk to anyone naturally, congratulations, you are an excellent conversationalist!
Most will need to reread and practice a few tips to get there, but that’s great and this post is always available to you.
I hope that you’ve learned everything you need to know to feel comfortable starting and navigating good conversations.