“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” – Jim Rohn
Sometimes you have no problem talking with people. Other times…not so much.
Isn’t that frustrating? Thing is, it’s a nasty problem for the future of your social life, too. Because, if you can’t trust your abilities in some social situations, you lose confidence in all of them.
You’re in constant worry that next time might be the time you have to face rejection.
And all that does is keep you in a shell.
The good news is, consistently having good conversations is a choice. It is! And in this article, I’ll show you how to choose better conversations more often.
Here’s What WON’T Get You Great Conversations
When figuring how to improve conversation skills, most of what people do and think doesn’t work.
I’m no different. I remember the times I’d psyche myself up before a social outing. I’d think, “Ok, this time you’re going to be great. You’re a rockstar, remember? You can do this.”
That’s all fine and dandy, but on its own, it’s not enough. We hope and wish and intend to say the right things, but forget to focus on the actions that actually DO work.
That’s the secret of consistency: persistently doing what works.
For example in conversation, you need to focus on listening, portraying good body language, balanced self-disclosure, asking open-ended questions, etc.
In other words, you need to consistently focus on the basics.
Consistency Comes By Focusing on Proven Fundamentals
Bowling is a great example of this. I suck at it.
It’s fine. I’m OK with it–I’ve only ever bowled for fun. But the way I approach bowling is how many people approach conversation.
Difference is, they DON’T have fun when their social interactions suck, and that’s not fine.
Y’see, when I bowl, I envision good results. Standing before the lane, I see the ball hitting the center pin. I intend for the strike to happen. I take 3 (or 4 or sometimes 5) steps, aim near center, swing and release.
Gutter! But sometimes a strike. Or maybe 6 down with a wicked split to pickup…
That’s not the way to bowl consistently.
Again, consistency is a choice. How so? You choose to do what’s proven to get good results.
In bowling, envisioning the result you want is good, but it’s not the whole battle. You must also concentrate on the tiny details that result in a strike. You need to have good form, take the right amount of steps, hold the ball correctly, exert the proper force, aim well, etc.
These are the factors that get you a strike every time.
Is it easy to keep all those things in mind at once and do it well? No. But good bowlers do.
Why Many Introverted & Shy Never Get Better Socially
Conversation is no different. You need to concentrate on basic tools like being present, smiling, listening and responding appropriately. And you need to do it EVERY time.
If you’re not practiced in these things, it can take effort at first. And that’s where most people get hung up.
- “This should be natural.”
- “It shouldn’t be this hard.”
- “I just need to be myself.”
…or some other garbage that keeps them fumbling socially like Geordi LaForge minus the optical visor.
If you think that, you’re dead wrong.
Consider how hard a beginning bowler trains before he can successfully compete in tournaments. He doesn’t become a champion automatically. He has to WORK at becoming “natural.”
A champion bowler feels natural throwing strikes because he’s done it so much.
“But Talking Isn’t Bowling. You’re Supposed to be Natural in Conversation”
If you think conversation shouldn’t need practice, you’re making the mistake (that I also made) of judging yourself against good talkers. Extroverts, for example, are usually great socially, but not because they’re born good talkers.
What IS natural is they’re more outgoing. Because of this, they’ve gotten more social practice thru life. That’s why they seem more “natural” in conversation.
At first, yes this is harder, because you have to think about all the details of good conversation. But eventually it gets easier, even effortless, because it becomes automatic.
You become like the champion bowler who subconsciously holds perfect form and applies proper force. Conversation is natural for you because the basics have become second nature – in every situation.
So, get out there and start hitting the social lanes. Think of it as a challenge: “How many of the basics can I include in this next interaction?”
If you keep at it, you’ll be well on your way to that Perfect Game of conversation.