Do business meetings scare you? Would you rather stare at the ceiling as if it were the most interesting thing in the world and avoid talking to people at social events? Don’t worry! You’re not the only one. The prospect of talking to people you don’t really know, freaks most people out. Knowing how to engage in small talk is necessary in business though. So, read up on how to improve your business conversation skills.
1. Use an icebreaker.
Icebreakers are the best way to jumpstart a conversation. Hopefully, this can lead to a fruitful conversation, rather than the dreaded awkward silence. So, use questions like “How did you find yourself in the _____ field? And make sure to lessen the unnecessary silence in the room.
2. Find common ground.
When you stay on a topic that most of the people in the conversation are familiar with, you’ll lessen the pregnant pauses. Finding common ground leads to easier and more effective communication. Avoid controversial topics like politics and religion so the conversation doesn’t tense up or lead to a heated debate.
3. Ask open-ended questions.
Yes/No questions or one-answer questions will lead to a dead end conversation wise. So, avoid questions like “Where did you go to school?” “Where do you live?” Encourage your conversation partner to share some more detail (but hopefully not too much detail) about their lives. Ask them about their children or their family.
4. Share anecdotes.
It’s important for you to share a few things about yourself as well. If they bring up a topic that you have a funny story about, share it! It lets your conversation partner know that you can relate to them, and that you’ve really been listening to them. This also forms a better bond, which will help you in the long run.
Remember to remain confident all throughout your conversations. Learn the Powers of Confidence at JRP.