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Three Tips to Improve Your Ability to Hold a Conversation with Anyone

October 29th, 2015

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There are few skills absolutely essential for success in business no matter what role you work in. Right at the top of that list is communication skills. Being able to communicate effectively helps you sidestep common problems, identify hidden opportunities, and increase your value to your company. Conversely, having poor communication skills can put your career on hold, even if you have talents elsewhere. With that fact in mind, we have identified three tips that can help anyone hold a better conversation no matter who they are talking to.

Watch Your Body Language

You communicate with a lot more than just your voice. If you are having a conversation with someone but you are constantly fidgeting while your eyes are darting around the room, your audience won’t feel like you are invested and engaged. When you are speaking to someone, be sure to make eye contact, to use expressive gestures (but not too many), and to give the other person your undivided attention. When you are speaking, talk slowly rather than rushing to the end of your sentences. Basically, be the person you wish you were talking to.

Look for Detail

One of the hardest things about having a conversation is that small talk is boring by definition. You have to get through it to connect with a stranger, but you can only spend so much time talking about the weather. For that reason make sure to keep your eyes out for details that reveal something about your audience. You might notice a wedding ring, a pin for a college or sports team, a candid photo on a desk, or a movie reference on an office wall. Make the effort to get to know the other person as a real person.

Study Your Vocabulary

The reason that a lot of people are poor communicators is that they simply use the wrong words to say what they want. They use 10 words when two will do, or try to express big, complex ideas in clipped, confusing sentences. That habit can be a conversation killer, and it can get you into hot water in a business environment. In most cases there is one perfect word that will be descriptive but brief, expressive but appropriate, and surprising but understandable. Study your own word choices, and you will likely unearth some room for improvement.

Communication skills really can be learned, developed, and improved. If you’re not great in conversation now, there is no reason you can’t be later. Start developing those skills, and when you’re ready to leverage them to enhance your career, contact the Concorde Group.

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