Keeping the conversation going is often a challenge mainly because many people fear that their subject or opinion won’t interest the other person. But studies have shown that this fear is often not based on reality. Once you deal with this fear, it becomes easy to keep conversations going with anyone.
If you want to learn how to keep a conversation going, this article offers you a complete guide to having interesting conversations with different people.
Tips on How to Keep a Conversation Going
If you often interact with people, then you’ve probably experienced the discomfort that comes with the awkward pause during a conversation with someone you’re not too close with. This often happens when you’re having a conversation with people that you’re just getting to know. Sometimes this experience will cause you to cringe at the thought of starting a conversation with people you aren’t comfortable with.
But with a little assistance and advice from professional relationship experts and public speaking coaches, you find it easy to start and maintain interesting conversations with everyone. Here are some general tips on how to keep any conversations going.
1. Be Curious
To make the conversation interesting and keep the other person involved in it, you must show genuine curiosity in them. You can do this by using common phrases like “I’m curious about your…” or “I’m curious what you think about…” etc. These phrases and questions will show the other person that you’re genuinely curious about them.
They’ll keep them hooked to the conversation because people generally love to talk about themselves. The “I’m curious” phrase shows the other person that you’re not being judgmental thus preventing them from becoming defensive. It also allows the other person to feel your inquisitiveness and interest in what they have to say.
2. Pick the Right Time to Start a Conversation
The easiest way to kill a conversation before it starts is to pick the wrong time to talk. People aren’t always in the mood to talk. So, you have to study the person you want to talk to just to make sure it’s the right time to have a conversation with them.
For instance, you could ask them directly if it’s a good time to talk. A simple question such as: “Is this a bad time to talk?” or “I would like to talk to you but I’m not sure if this is a good time for you to talk?” will help you gauge where they’re at and whether they’re in a good position to have an interesting conversation with you. If you think that the other person isn’t in the mood to talk, postpone the conversation to another time.
3. Find a Common Ground
The easiest way to start a conversation with someone and keep it going is to establish synergy with them. By finding a common ground with someone new, you’re able to bond quickly and have interesting conversations with them. The common ground could be shared beliefs, interests, preferences, etc.
Please note that certain subjects like politics, sexuality, religion and other topics that are likely to be controversial can easily spark tension between you and the other person if you don’t share a stand on them. In that case, you should avoid such topics. But if you hold the same view on the topic, it’ll be a perfect way to keep the conversation going.
4. Be a Good Listener
A good conversation should be two-way. This means that you should give the other person time to talk. Therefore, you have to keep quiet at some point during the conversation and listen to what the other person has to say.
When you listen, show genuine interest and engagement in the conversation. Active listening strengthens relationships and makes conversations reciprocal. You can even train yourself to be an active listener during your normal conversations with friends and family members.
5. Keep Your Questions Open-ended
Many people aren’t comfortable answering straight yes or no questions. Such questions shorten conversations, creating many awkward pauses during a conversation. Therefore, ask open-ended questions to create more room for the other person to expound on their views and statements and make the conversation more reciprocal.
This also makes the other person feel appreciated and keeps them genuinely captivated by the conversation. Once you answer a question, give the other person enough time to answer it conclusively and listen to them actively without jumping in with another question.
Tips on How to Keep an In-Person Conversation Going
1. Understand the Context
It’s very hard to keep a conversation going if you don’t understand the context. It’s only after you’ve understood the context of your conversation that you’ll find corresponding topics and questions to help you keep the conversation interesting. Understanding the context also involves analyzing the other person’s overall demeanor and appearance to determine if they’re in the mood for a conversation.
You should also check their outfit, energy levels, sense of humor, and how they express themselves to find something that you can use as a compliment to motivate them to continue having the conversation. Everybody loves compliments.
2. Use Compliments
As noted above, people love compliments. So, discover something unique about the person you’re speaking with and use it as a compliment to keep them captivated. It could be their physical appearance, clothes, attitude, or anything else that can help them to ease up.
3. Keep Eye Contact and Use the Right Body Language
How you behave during a conversation determines how interesting the conversation becomes. For instance, your body language can tell the other person when the conversation has become extraneous. This includes a lack of eye contact or a change in the tone of your voice. So, always look the other person in the eye and don’t cross your arms or turn your body away from them.
Tips on How to Keep a Text Conversation Going
1. Understand That Not Everyone Is a Texting Pro
Although texting is now the most common mode of communication, not everyone does it like a pro. Some people take time to think about what to write while others just write whatever is on their mind. So, don’t worry if the person you’re conversing with isn’t a texting guru.
Sometimes they’ll delay texting you back or just text you back in a monosyllable because they’re busy doing other important things. So, instead of giving up and quitting the conversation, ask them if it’s a bad time to have the conversation. Don’t allow your anxieties to break the relationship.
2. Be Direct
Many people are always busy with work and other important chores. So, they don’t have the luxury of time to read long texts. In most cases, people will ignore or postpone reading your long text, especially if they’re busy doing something else.
But it’s easy for them to read and reply to a short, clear text message. So, when you’re writing texts, be direct and keep them simple to understand. Also, spell out things that could be communicated in someone’s body language and tone of voice.
3. Use Emojis
Emojis have become very popular among social media users as they help them to communicate quickly and effortlessly. They’ve also improved how people communicate through texts by allowing them to express their feelings clearly and directly. That’s why emojis are so common on online dating platforms.
Simple Topics and Questions to Keep the Conversation Going
Whether you’re having a casual or formal conversation, you have to keep the other person interested in the conversation by choosing the right topics. Once you introduce yourself to them and cover the basics, the next major task is to keep the conversation going.
Unfortunately, sometimes you can get stuck and whatever you want to say isn’t good enough. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, here are some simple topics and questions that you can use to keep the conversation going.
1. Childhood Topics
Everyone has some interesting stories about their upbringing. These stories can form the basis of an interesting conversation, especially when you’re trying to get to know someone. Ask them basic questions like where they grew up, what it was like growing up, what they think about their hometown, etc.
2. Climate and Seasons
Although some people consider the weather and season topics small talk, these topics are universal and very good conversation starters because everyone has a lot to say about the weather and the seasons. Someone’s views on the prevailing weather can help you know their likes and dislikes, as well as their overall mood at that time. You can ask the following questions:
• What’s your favorite season and why?
• What do you like to do in fall, winter, etc.?
• Do you like rainy days, or do you find them somewhat dull?
• What does perfect weather look like to you?
• Which season do you hate and why?
3. Hobbies and Interests
We all love to talk about the things we’re passionate about. Therefore, if you want to keep the conversation going, ask the other person about their hobbies and interests. You can even look for a common ground just to make the topic more exciting and engaging. Here are some interesting questions to ask:
• How do you spend your free time?
• What’s the one hobby you’ve always wanted to pick up?
• Have you ever gone down an internet rabbit hole, and what was it?
• Have you always held the same hobbies since childhood?
People have varying entertainment preferences. Some like reading books, while others like watching movies, TV shows, or listening to music. So, you can choose any of these topics to make your conversations more interesting. Ask any of the following questions:
• What genre of music do you like?
• What’s your favorite TV show or movie?
• Who’s your favorite fictional character?
• Do you like reading, and if so, who’s your favorite author?
• What’s the most memorable music concert have you ever attended?
5. Education and Career
As you get to know someone, questions about their education and career will come up. Their answers will help you to understand their goals and achievements in life. You should pay attention to the tone of their voice when answering these questions to know if they’re comfortable answering them.
Here are some of the questions related to education and career:
• Where did you go to school and what did you study?
• Did you always want to be a [insert] growing up, or did you hope to be something else?
• What do you hope to achieve in your career?
• What was your favorite subject or class in school and why?
• Are you satisfied with your current job or you would like to try something else?
Aside from helping you to keep the conversation going, these topics and questions will also show the other person that you’re genuinely concerned about them. But you have to ensure that the questions are open-ended and nonjudgmental.