How would you rate your conversational skills?

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The art of having a good conversation can do wonders for your mind. Exchanging information and sharing with another person makes the time well spent. On the other hand, you know the exact moment when you are in the middle of a bad conversation. You walk away exhausted and wonder why you met them in the first place.

Most people don’t try to be bad talkers. This happens over time with habits that become second nature, and the person may not realize that they are having unproductive conversations.

A supervisor once told me about a meeting where they observed a conversation between two employees assigned to a project. Both were excited about the opportunity, but it was evident that one of them dominated the discussion over time. Instead of having a dialogue, their discussion was a long monologue which created an embarrassing situation and ended badly.

The supervisor attributed the lack of communication skills to an age difference and, to his surprise, the one who took charge of the conversation was older. In their opinion, the older employee should have known how to conduct a discussion where the two were actively participating instead of one of them speaking fully.

The truth is, having a good conversation transcends age and is not a predictor of who should know better. Instead, it is an art that takes practice to cultivate the skill. When you think of a good conversationalist, think of someone who has mentored you. What influenced you in their communication style? You probably felt like they cared about you by sharing in a give and take way.

Good leaders are great influencers.


Being a good communicator will serve you throughout your career. You are unlikely to hear a negative comment from a qualified interviewer if you want to advance your career, learn how to build relationships, and have a good conversation. It is not about age, experience or education, but rather awareness of the balance between speaking and listening.

Here are a few ways to boost your conversational skills with just a few changes.

Be authentic with what you are passing on to the other person. A good conversation is not a debate to gain a point. It’s an exchange involving all of your senses, such as non-verbal language, eye contact, and interest.

Share the conversation, aim for a 50-50 balance between talking and listening.

Be focused when you speak and listen. It’s rare for someone to be able to express their interest in you by looking around the room to check who’s there.

Questions fuel good conversations. The best types of questions to ask are open ended questions that help the other person speak. Open-ended questions usually start; with, who, what, how or where.

Use the “WAIT” Technique to Help You Internally Monitor Your Actions When Communicating With Another Person – Why Am I Talking? If you can’t seem to come up with a good reason why you are speaking, it may be a sign that you are dominating the conversation.

Thinking back on your career, who were the best talkers?

What did they do that made them memorable?

Kimberly Thompson, M.Ed. is a National Council Certified Career Counselor and Coach. Send your questions to

[email protected]

or visit his blog on

https://www.chron.com/jobs/.


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