Easy ways to keep conversations going

social skills Feb 03, 2024
Easy ways to keep conversations going

The biggest concern most people have when it comes to conversation is keeping it rolling. The awkward silence is the part that people fear the most. Last week, we talked about how to generate interest in others. Today, we'll be expanding upon those concepts, going over easy ways to keep conversations going so you don't have these deadly awkward silences.

Today's techniques are as follows:

  • Ask questions & engage in their answer
  • Make your contribution
  • Say what's on the tip of your tongue

Ask questions & engage with their answer

Think back to the last time you got barraged with endless questions. It's not the most enjoyable thing to go through, and yet so many guys do this to others in conversation, especially with girls. It's only once you learn to take the answer and make something of it that you start to see results.

I remember back when I didn't ever engage with the answer I would get when I asked questions. I always wondered why conversations would die so quickly.

Of all conversation techniques that exist, none are as basic yet foundational as asking questions and engaging with the answer. Anyone good at conversation knows how and when to ask questions. 

The main objection I had back in the day to this is what if my question is boring? What if nothing interesting comes out of it? That's why you engage with their answer.

Too many guys have this misconception that your question needs to be interesting. Sure, it can help if you ask more engaging questions, but it doesn't make or break your conversations.

The first and easiest way to keep conversations going is to engage with their answers to your questions. It's not the question that needs to be interesting, but what comes after.

Most people will not elaborate unless prompted to do so. If you don't prompt them to elaborate, then that leads to those dreaded awkward silences.

Oftentimes, all you have to do is ask them to give you more details about their answer. A simple, "tell me more" is all it takes.

Once you get more comfortable with this technique, you can start using teasing to get them to elaborate. Something like, "So you had a boring day? I see."

By simply using this technique, over time you will see improvements in the enjoyability of your conversations with others because you are no longer in interview mode. 

Easy ways to make your contribution to the conversation

If you grew up socially awkward like I did, chances are you have a fear of saying something to somebody and they just don't respond to it. I've learned that those things you say that are seemingly out of nowhere are necessary and, with enough calibration, can become very effective.

It's not enough to just ask questions and have them talk. Conversations require more than one person, and as a result, everybody must participate in some way.

Luckily, making that contribution is quite easy and simple. More than anything, you just need to start getting used to these techniques.

The first way to make your contribution is to add your input for them to work off of.

Last week, we talked about how the easiest way to get something to happen is to use the rule of reciprocity. This is the key concept to giving your input.

By giving your input first, they will feel more comfortable giving theirs. All you have to do is become comfortable with giving your input and conversations become simple.

You can start with your input, you can give it after they answer your question, but never give it to get an answer unless you're using it as clarification. We want them to contribute of their own accord, not because they feel obligated.

The second way to make your contribution is to do cold reads.

There's something interesting that happens when we make assumptions about others out of curiosity. This kind of assumption prompts them to correct us and go into detail. These are known as a cold read.

One of the easiest ways to keep conversations going with a little added spice is to make a cold read. It's a prime way of doing something playful while learning more about them.

Without that spice, conversations stay bland and unmemorable. With just a little bit sprinkled in, things become more interesting.

By combining these two techniques, you get more of a base to work with and a way to add more flare. These two things are exactly what you need for conversations to last and be enjoyable.

Say what's on the tip of your tongue

I remember whenever the Shia LaBeouf memes of Just Do It came out. I found it so funny. As much as we meme on it, his words in that video are quite profound. Just do it, make your dreams come true.

By far the biggest obstacle to success is your mind stopping you. If you can get around this, then you've conquered one of the biggest hurdles.

Conversation is no different. To make it easier to keep conversations going, you need to get your mind to stop holding you back.

The one thing I learned that made this easy for me was to always remind myself that whatever was on the tip of my tongue was enough.

At first, making use of this was kinda scary. I was scared of how people would respond and I thought I would be ridiculed.

Then when I tried it, I had some very interesting conversations and obtained experience with a new skill. Every time I repeated this process, I had more interesting conversations and obtained more experience.

Oftentimes, when we stop ourselves from doing something it's because our minds make it seem worse than it is. Our minds have a way of overinflating consequences, and it doesn't benefit us in this day & age.

There isn't much to how you do this. Just remind yourself every time you talk to somebody that whatever is on the tip of your tongue will be enough and then say whatever is on that tip.

Keeping conversations going is easy

Just like any other skill, the beginning will be rocky. You will make mistakes, but that's part of the process, a process that will help you to learn.

Don't give yourself a hard time if it takes you a couple of tries to get the hang of any of these. Conversations are more enjoyable when you're relaxed, and we improve faster at the things we enjoy.

- Karl