What do these all have in common?
- Soul shaking life experiences
- Lucrative new opportunities
- A flood of friendships
They’re all things you get less of because of poor conversation skills. The ability to start conversations confidently and talk comfortably gets you more from life than just about any other skill.
But how do you improve conversation skills?
Well, I’ve actually searched and tested for 10+ years to find the answer to that question for myself. What I found was a mix of the obvious as well as principles most people overlook.
Here are the top 9 tips I discovered:
1. Raise Your Self-Esteem
From my own experience and that of helping my readers, I’ve discovered many social skills issues stem from a low sense of self-worth. Deep down, you feel others are better or you’re just not enough. Maybe you don’t feel your life is on the right track.
This causes your conversations to suffer before they begin. You fear letting people know you assuming they won’t like you (since YOU don’t fully like you either). By creating a life you love and appreciating your uniqueness, a natural barrier to rejection forms.
2. Hold Confident/Open Body Language
Good body language makes you appear self-assured to others, and gets you feeling that way too. Stand erect. Hold your head up and have good eye contact. Smile a bit.
Also, signal you’re open and approachable by unfolding your arms and relaxing your hands. Actually, in my opinion here’s the best body language tip ever.
3. Practice Self-Disclosure
A core component of good communication skills and making friends is connecting. You do this by letting them get to know you and vice versa.
But, if you don’t talk about yourself at all, the friendship fizzles. By disclosing your life facts, opinions and feelings, you have more to talk about AND you form lasting bonds.
4. Grow in Self-Knowledge
I call my site Conversation Skills Core because developing the core of who you are is vital to social success. As mentioned above in Self-Disclosure, people form friendships (and flowing conversations) by getting to know each other.
So if you don’t know who you are, you can’t truly connect. You won’t get across what you’re about to others. That’s why it’s important to have a firm grasp on your strengths, weaknesses, opinions, interests, etc.
5. Brush Up on Basic Conversation Etiquette
By having an understanding of basics like how to start a conversation and how to keep a conversation going, you gain confidence. That little bit extra assurance will get you into more social interactions. And as they say, practice makes perfect.
6. Be Mindful
Being in the present moment is one of the most important traits of improving social skills. By paying attention to what’s going on, you catch details you can use.
Is the person wearing an interesting piece of clothing? Was that a strange tone of voice while talking about their roommate? This is all information you can use to expand the conversation
7. Know Some Current Topics
Having a topic or two in mind can help when you’re running low on things to say. So pop online to see what’s happening in the news. Good topics are usually light (not politics, religion, etc.) and either funny or opinion provoking.
In fact, every Friday in my Conversation Topics posts, I handpick recent news stories great for conversation.
8. Manage Your Limiting Beliefs
“If I go talk to that person I’d be bothering them.” “I always mess up when I try to start a conversation with someone new.” Many of us have irrational beliefs that prevent us from being confident in conversation.
Become aware of your negative beliefs and challenge them regularly to gain control.
9. Be More Social
To get better you need to get out there, consistently practice conversation skills, make mistakes and learn from them. There is no other way.
Many people resist this because they see “naturals” and think, well, social success should be natural. They think they shouldn’t have to work at it.
Here’s the thing. Those “naturals” weren’t born that way. Sure, some are naturally more outgoing, but they still had to learn the ins and outs of being social. But, by the luck of the draw, they learned while growing up. We didn’t. So that means you need to catch up by being more social now.
Through practice and consistently putting the above principles into action, you’ll eventually improve your conversation skills.
As Benjamin Franklin said:
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
And hey, conquering your tendency to be quiet when you’d rather talk can make a massive difference in your life quality. It’ll help you stop missing out so you can get the most from your life.
If you’d like to get started today, check out my free video series and newsletter on improving conversation skills.
It’ll help you understand why you’re quiet when you don’t want to be and give you solid techniques to be more outgoing and more confident.