How to Master the Art of Conversation

Smartphones are everywhere now and take up so much of our attention, that we do not know how to maintain or keep up a good conversation. This makes me miss the days before they existed.

Back then, people would make eye contact and have real conversations. I’m not saying that talking to each other is completely gone, but it is fading away. The skill of having a good conversation is getting lost.

Break the ice

According to Gross, the four best words to start any conversation are “tell me about yourself.” These words are open-ended and don’t make any assumptions that might make the other person feel awkward, like if they have a job or not.

The great thing about saying “tell me about yourself” is that it starts a conversation without making anyone feel uncomfortable. This broad question lets people share who they are in their own way.

Be curious

I’ve seen many conversations become one-sided, with one person doing all the talking. This happens when someone is nout interested in the other person. It may seem clear, but Gross’s advice to show curiosity about the other person is often ignored, in my experience.

Whether you are interviewing or just talking, Gross suggests being truly curious and wanting to hear what the other person says. I can show I care by sharing my feelings of sympathy or empathy and explaining why.

Prepare

Having talked to thousands of people, Gross knows the importance of getting ready. He says it’s good to think ahead about what you might be asked and how you would answer.

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Gross told The Times that he reads, watches, or listens to as much of the person’s work as he can. This way, he understands why the person or their story is important. He tries to figure out why the person matters and why it’s worth talking about them.

Pay attention to body language

It can be hard to learn, but it is important to watch the other person’s body language. Eye contact, or not having it, tells me a lot. If someone isn’t looking at me regularly, it means they’re not paying attention, and it’s time for us to move on.

“Try to notice when you have lost someone’s attention,” says Gross. “This way, you can avoid boring the other person or keeping them from where they need to be.”

Take control

Gross told The Times what to do if a job interview isn’t going well. He says if you get a tough question, you can say, “let me share an experience.” Then, you can talk about your strengths and experiences instead. Remember, an interview goes both ways. You should check if the company and job are right for you, just as they are checking if you are right for them.

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