Yeah, an extrovert would have a good chuckle at the title of this post – what’s hard about conversations? But most introverts have struggled through the leaden “thunk” of a conversation dropping into uncomfortable silence.
My favorite is when I find myself in casual conversation with another introvert – that pause as we both realize that the other is an introvert and neither of us is going to pick up the reins of the conversation.
But conversations don’t have to be difficult. The trick is to let them happen naturally. Here’s how:
Most of the time casual conversations aren’t important. You don’t have to make the other person like you, you don’t have to be amazingly witty or charming. You just have to talk a little. That’s all.
#2 Focus on being interested rather than being interesting
No this isn’t another version of “get him to talk about himself.” It’s just it’s more fun when we shift focus from “Oh no, I have to say something” to “Hmmm…look at that job title on his name tag.” Putting our attention on the other person often opens the door to a world of topics.
#3 Broaden your focus
What’s going on around you? Our surroundings always offer a topic of conversation. At a cocktail party? Talk about how you know the hosts. At a conference? Talk about the workshop you attend or ask for recommendations on booths to visit. This is especially useful if you find you don’t have much in common with your conversational partner.
#4 Choose to say nothing
If you don’t have anything to say, or don’t feel like talking, don’t force yourself into conversations. It’s perfectly fine to sit and observe the activity or excuse yourself and move on. We sometimes think that if it’s uncomfortable we have to force our way through it, but, unless it’s important that we hang in there, its ok to just let it go.
What’s most important is that we stick with what’s most comfortable. Rather than trying to copy the conversational style of an extrovert, we need to figure out what feels most natural for us.
Finally, remember this simple rule – you are always your most charming when you are being yourself.