How to Make Interesting Conversation
"A person who hopes to be interesting does not struggle to draw everyone's eyes to her; she keeps her eyes on everyone else. If her powers of observation are good, she will know how to enliven any group, not by buttering them up, but by anticipating what they care about."- Liesl Schillinger Making conversation is an exercise that takes years, if not a lifetime, to master. Sometimes, it feels like in order to be the center of a conversation, you have to talk incessantly or louder than everyone else. However, the fundamental rule of being the most interesting talker is to be interested in what others have to say.
Taking interest in others' conversations and thoughts, allows you to gauge their tastes and temperaments, and thus cater the conversation to suit them. Paying attention to what other people are interested in allows to bring up a topic that everyone has something to contribute to, creating a conversation that flows easily and naturally.
When you do talk, it is important to navigate conversation with grace and intuition. Especially if this is the first time meeting people, try to keep your vanity in check. Maybe you just got an awesome internship or were promoted to president of your RSO. That's awesome and you should totally be proud! But try and keep it to yourself so as not dominate the conversation.
The best conversation starter is story telling. Everyone has a few stories on hand that they love to share when they are in a new social environment. It can be about a time you went out of your comfort zone and something hilarious (or unfortunate!) happened, or a great trip you took with your best friend. What makes for a great story is timing (a super serious story during a fun party can ruin the mood) and a sense of self-deprecation.
Opening up with a personal story - whether extraordinary or more mundane - is a great way to get other people to talk as well. Everyone has a story that is tangentially related to someone else's and lets you discover cool things about people you've just met. You'll learn more about their personality and interests and unique experiences they've had, maybe paving the way to new friendships.
Most importantly, don't sweat it. Sometimes your joke may fall flat or people don't warm up to your story and that's ok. You can't win over everyone. Take a minute to reevaluate your company and try again. Have confidence in who you are and your ability to make interesting contributions to the conversation.
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What are your tricks when in a new social setting? Let us know in the comments below!