How to Keep a Conversation Going

Learn tips and tricks on how to keep a conversation flowing naturally

Choose Topics of Mutual Interest
It is much easier to keep a conversation going if you talk about something that interests both parties. Your location, activity, or the reason for your meeting can all provide potential topics, so pick something that seems relevant.

If your first conversation topic doesn't seem to capture the interest of the other person, don't be afraid to move to a different topic. Most vibrant conversations naturally flow across a variety of subjects.

Be Interested
Be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say. Pay careful attention and react appropriately to the information that the other person is sharing. Make sure that your comments are an appropriate response to what the other person just said.

Your body language can speak volumes without uttering a single word. If it becomes obvious that you are distracted or bored, then the other person is likely to withdraw as well, and your exchange will wither quickly. No one enjoys chatting with someone who is preoccupied with his/her cell phone or busy scanning the room for someone more exciting.

If you're not a big talker, asking questions questions about the other person can keep a conversation going; most people love to talk about themselves.

Be Tactful and Real
Being overly negative often makes people wary and closed off. It is generally best to keep the atmosphere positive, especially if you are talking with someone that you do not know well so try to be polite and avoid sensitive subjects.

Compliments are a great way to keep the lines of communication open, but be sure that you are being sincere. False flattery often makes people uncomfortable and can even come across as creepy or threatening.

Ask the Right Questions
Ask open-ended questions that invite the other person to elaborate on their response or share a brief story. These lengthier answers keep the words flowing and provide you with valuable clues about the other person's interests and activities.

Elaborate on Your Responses
If possible, avoid giving responses that are just a few words long. Try to elaborate on your response so that you give the other person a chance to listen and come up with their response or question.

Listen Closely
Listening to what the other person has said can guide you to know what question to ask next or what response is appropriate.

Listening closely can also give you clues about other conversational topics that you can explore next when the conversation starts to die down. Picking up on these clues can help guide you to know the right questions to ask, you can extend the conversation.

Don't be so focused on what you would like to share next that you lose track of what is actually being said.

Don't Focus on Perfection
Communication is often sloppy and imprecise; when someone you are talking with gets a detail wrong, ask yourself how important that particular detail really is before you interrupt them to correct it.

There is nothing wrong with politely asking for clarification if the detail is central to the topic but being overly precise can make a friendly conversation feel like an interrogation, so if a mistake is unimportant, let it go. Focus on enjoying your conversation instead.

Also see: 101 Conversation Starters | How to Start a Conversation | Random Conversation Generator

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