Give Welcomed Feedback
Give feedback on what the person is talking about. Just make sure that your feedback is welcomed. Be positive and diplomatic in your feedback. Remaining honest is important, however, because the other person will see that you are being genuine rather than simply agreeing with everything you hear.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions require more than just a yes-or-no answer. Ask open-ended questions that encourage the other person to start discussing a topic in detail.
For example, ask, “What made you decide to pursue nursing?” Or, “How did you like living in Hawaii?” These questions really encourage another person to offer information about their story and they invite them to share their opinion.
Invite People to Share About Their Lives
The single most important conversation hack is to invite people to talk about their lives. Almost everyone enjoys talking about themselves. Show an interest in hearing about a person’s history, family, ideas, or goals and it will likely get the conversation going right away.
Just make sure you don’t pry or become nosy. If a person appears uncomfortable sharing something personal, change the subject to a more neutral topic.
Wait for Your Turn to Talk
Whatever you do, don’t interrupt. Instead, wait patiently for your turn to talk. Interrupting is one of the quickest ways to shut down a conversation and irritate the other person.
Show that you value what others are saying. Truly listen to what is being said rather than trying to think of what you will say next.
Asking for advice shows that you value someone else’s opinion. Just because you ask for advice, it doesn’t mean you have to follow it. Be willing to respectfully listen to someone else’s point of view.
You can ask for advice on both serious and simple things in life. Ask your co-worker if she likes your new jacket or ask a friend how you should handle a situation. Asking for advice can make others feel important.
Ask for an Explanation
Ask for an explanation of how something works. Asking someone else to explain something to you shows that you think that person is smart and has something valuable to teach you. If someone is talking about something you don’t understand, speak up and ask for an explanation.
If your friend says he just finished installing a new app on his computer, ask for an explanation of how it works. Or, if your friend says he was successful in approaching his boss for a raise, ask him how he did it. Asking for explanations invites others to share and teach you, which can be a great conversation hack.
Repeat and Rephrase What You Hear
Before jumping in to express your opinion, rephrase what you hear. Start out by repeating the last three words the other person said. Then try to rephrase the rest of what was said in your own words.
This shows that you were listening and helps clarify what you heard. The other person can point out any discrepancies and can ensure that you truly understood what was being communicated. It will also prevent you from jumping in and expressing your opinion before ensuring you really understood.
Say, “Tell Me More”
Saying, “Tell me more,” is a great conversation hack because it invites the other person to provide more details without prying. If your co-worker tells you that he’s thinking of looking for a new job, simply reply by saying, “Tell me more.” He can decide how much information he wants to reveal.
This can work well with friends, family, co-workers, or someone you are meeting for the first time. It shows people you are truly invested in hearing what they have to say.