Guest AuthorShital Kakkar Mehra
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7 Conversation Winners

By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO

Striking a fine balance between listening and speaking is the key to good conversation skills that help build rapport, attract buy-ins, help get your point across succinctly and can be leveraged to get desired results. Outlined below is a list of conversation winners that can come to your aid:

1) Focus on being understood: If people frequently tell you “I don’t understand…” step back and evaluate your speaking skills. Do you dictate, sound patronizing or talk too fast? Practice speaking slower, calibrating your style & vocabulary to suit your audience. Remember, it is not just what you say but how you say it that also matters

2) Exhibit good listening skills: Most people don’t focus well on listening; instead they just wait to speak. By displaying good listening skills, you build trust and show interest. Asking relevant questions, using positive gestures (eye contact, nodding, smiling) and picking up the thread of the conversation, shows you are ‘really’ engaged and empathetic.

3) Follow a 2-way dialogue: Conversation, like a game of tennis, is a two-way process. Use it to extract others’ opinions and not just as a tool for telling them yours. View pauses & short silences as time to think and respond.  

4) Include everyone: Extroverts have natural flair for conducting conversation but the real skill lies in including the quieter ones, who maybe struggling to get their point across but do have valuable views to contribute.

5) Disagree gracefully: Respect the fact that people have differing opinions, which makes conversation interesting and lively. Instead of launching on a single-minded mission to prove yourself correct, when faced with a challenge to your opinion, accept gracefully saying “It is possible to have differing views on this subject, and you may be right. My personal view is …”

6) Changing tracks: Use tact to change the subject, which at times maybe needed to retain focus or to deflect to neutral territory. Steer smartly during a break in the conversation but if the break doesn’t come, interject saying “Tell me more about …” or “Going back to…”

7) Resist the urge to be a “know-all”: Despite all your success and depth of knowledge, accept the fact that you cannot have all the answers. So, wait for people to ask for your advice. 

In short, get others to speak, practice active listening, know what to say and how to say it and most importantly, when to say nothing!

Republished with permission and originally published at Shital Kakkar Mehra’s LinkedIn

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