Some ways to make a conversation successful, by Prisca Ciaramella

Do you want to have a successful conversation when you are with your friends? If so, I suggest you follow my suggestions to take your speaking skills to the next level: they will ensure your interlocutors will listen to you while you are talking.

All of us has probably had the experience of a conversation in which the interlocutor looked inattentive while we were talking. To avoid this, first of all you need to understand why your interlocutor appears inattentive. Sometimes their inattention is caused by the speaker’s behaviour. One of the main social skills of human beings is to adopt appropriate behaviour when talking to someone. However, this doesn’t always happen.

So what are the problems that speakers may experience during a conversation, and above all, how can these be solved in such a way that people will listen?

One of the main reasons for the failure of a conversation is judging the interlocutor. According to sound techniques scholar Julian Treasure, some speakers have the bad habit of judging their interlocutors negatively, and this makes it very hard to listen to them, also because the person who is being judged feels hurt. The best way to solve this problem and get your interlocutors’ attention is honesty. Speakers have to be clear, straight and true in what they say, without offending nor judging their interlocutors, but using politeness and being tactful when they talk.

The second problem is speakers’ egocentricity. A study conducted by psychologists Marian B. Hubbel and Mary Henle in The Journal of Social Psychology found that the main reason for the inattention of some listeners is the egocentricity of the speaker. Those speakers who always want to talk about themselves, without listening to others, make the conversation boring and they come across as impolite because they don’t let other people express their opinions.

On the basis of my own experience, I can confirm that these egocentric speakers are very annoying. Some years ago, two guys (a boy and a girl) joined my group of friends, and, when we went out all together, they always wanted to catch our attention. They only talked about their business and when we tried to express an opinion they never listened to us or let us talk. They only wanted to be the focus of attention without being interested in anyone else’s opinions.

“The most effective way to get people’s attention is to give them yours”, says scholar Erika Andersen during an interview published in Forbes magazine. Her remark means that people who truly listen to others while they’re talking are very polite because instead of demonstrating egocentricity they show openness, respect and interest in what the others say. In this way all speakers can express their opinions when it’s their turn.

There are many ways to make a conversation successful and fluent, but if you follow these suggestions, you might improve your conversational skills, and be listened to more attentively.

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