Most people occasionally find themselves in a social situation where the conversation runs dry and an awkward silence can follow. This doesn’t mean you lack social skills or you’re a boring person, there are however some tips and strategies that can help you.
6 Tips to avoid running out of conversation:
Asking routine, getting to know you, questions is fine. It may feel cliched to you to ask “Where do you work?” or “What do you do for fun?” however the purpose of these questions is to find a subject that is more inspiring for you to discuss
Don’t over analyse what you’re going to say. When you can’t think of anything to say often your mind is full of possibilities, which you may ignore as “that’s too boring” or “they may judge me if I say that”. Try to ignore this inner critic and just let your ideas flow.
Focus your attention. It’s natural to zone out of conversation occasionally, to get distracted by listening to something else in the room or with thoughts in your head. Try to really listen to the conversation instead, this helps build rapport and also it’s more likely a relevant comment will come to you.
Avoid closed questions and answers. These are questions that only need a yes or no answer, for example “Do you enjoy your job?”. When replying to questions try to expand your answer further than just “fine” or “okay”.
Be honest. If you are feeling that a conversation is uncomfortable then it is likely the other person is too. A helpful technique can be to admit this feeling and you can both laugh about it. For example “It’s difficult isn’t it when you have to make small talk with so many people?”
Practise your skills. Social skills are like any skill, they require practise to be natural. So be aware of your style of conversation and practise new skills and new subjects, especially with people who you feel intimidated by.
Good luck with your conversations and if you’d like to work on building your confidence and skills please contact me