By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
Conducting conversation, both in business & socio-business situations has emerged as an essential career skill for today’s executive. Most people carry baggage from their teenage years where the fear of social rejection petrified them, making them appear standoffish or disinterested. These false impressions can be conversation killers! Following tips will help conduct better conversation with a stranger, regardless of the business setting:
- Pay attention to your body language: Body language creates impact, acts an ice-breaker and is a critical first impression tool, getting you noticed before you have uttered a single word. Display friendly body language – a smile, open hand gestures, a smooth voice, direct eye contact and a relaxed posture, all signal “I’m interested in conversing” way before your words can convey the same message.
- Learn to frame open-ended questions: Posing questions that require no thinking or monosyllabic answers lead to a dead-end. Instead, ask questions which force your listener to think. For e.g. instead of saying “Oh, so you are a stock broker say, “What’s your view on the current stock market turbulence?”. Also, instead of asking the bland “Are you working for a start-up?” ask “Which industry are you working in? Have you been impacted by the recent downturn?”.
- Keep the spotlight on your listener, not yourself: As most people love to speak about themselves, use clues from their answers to phrase further questions to keep the conversation flowing. This creates a win-win situation as it keeps him/her anchored to you & makes them feel valued. On your part, you pay them a compliment by listening, it helps you update your knowledge and keeps the conversation flowing with minimal effort.