Being a good conversationalist is the first step in establishing rapport either in the United States or internationally.
Being a good conversationalist is the first step in establishing rapport either in the United States or internationally. Mastery of this skill was required before the age of the I-Phone and social media. Spending time actually conversing with people is the exception rather than the rule for today’s young professionals and for those who are entirely addicted to their electronic appendages, having to spend time in conversation results in withdrawal symptoms such as restless leg syndrome or fidgeting with an empty plastic water bottle (this actually happened at a meeting I attended). True, the topic may be boring, but again, good manners dictate that one should not show this and listen politely showing interest feigned or otherwise. To be seen as a well-rounded professional, the solutions are as follows:
- Prepare topics for small talk
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Listen, listen, listen!
- Be aware of body stance in conversation – folded arms indicate that the other person is either hostile or doesn’t want to hear what you have to say.
- Validate others and compliment genuinely when appropriate.
- Stop thinking of what you’re going to say next or interrupting.
- Give that person your full attention…no searching for a better prospect!
- Ten minutes is a good rule of thumb and you can break away by saying: “It was a pleasure talking with you and I will follow up with…”
- Leave people feeling as if they had a wonderful conversation even if you didn’t get a word in edgewise…remember everyone’s favorite subject is talking about themselves!
- Always shake hands on departing.
The best conversationalists are the best listeners!