Improving your communication skills step by step does require a little work, but it’s always more than worth it. If you have the patience and the willingness to be a little bumbling and awkward in the first few attempts, you can dramatically increase your ability to improve your interpersonal relationships with a wide range of people. Here’s how:
We can all talk to our family members. It’s easy. We have likely been speaking to them since we learned how to talk. For this reason, it’s important to go out of your comfort zone. Talking to your mother on the phone is nice and should often be done, but sometimes engaging in conversation with strangers is much more instructive. So, why not? Strike up small talk with shop clerks, bartenders who aren’t busy, and your hairdresser.
Talk to people at bars that appeal to you, and speak to that person at the office you have been gently smiling to when passing for the last year. Simply walk up and say ‘hey.’ It’s that easy. See where the conversation goes from there. Past giving you a list of things to say and ask, or providing you with a quality chat line guide, experience can be one of the best things to do. Even if you make a fool of yourself for the first one hundred people, you will gain something from each interaction.
No More Miss. Nice Girl
It’s important to know that dialogue is not all about trying to win the affection of other people. It’s to contribute to a discourse which keeps you both interested. If the other person is not responsive, interested or come across as rude, there’s no need to continue. There’s also no need to become hostile. Having a backbone means having the ability to see that they might be having a bad day, or to simply withdraw from their presence. That doesn’t make you a bad person in the slightest, just someone who values their time. Don’t waste your time trying to talk to people who don’t care about the interaction. You can usually assess this through body language, the content and energy behind their speech, as well as a host of other instinctual factors. Respect your time, and you start respecting the time of other people.
Good conversation is 20% speaking and 80% listening. You’ll see that this works because people often lighten up when they see that you’re willing to exercise them this courtesy. They will often return it. However, you’ll be able to assess relatively quickly if someone isn’t interested in letting you speak, as the conversation will become tainted and feel a little strange. Again, if this happens and you’re not interested in the topic of conversation, don’t be afraid to withdraw from the entire ordeal.
With these tips in mind, your conversations will likely become much more interesting and wholesome. Not only will you have the confidence to engage, but also the self-respect to understand what is and isn’t a conversation worth your time.