Getting into conversation with someone new can be pretty scary at times. For most people, there is a lot of fear around saying the wrong thing, being perceived as weird, or running out of discussion topics. The last one, however, is the easiest fix. Here are my top three, beginner tips to ensure you never run out of things to say in conversation.
My first piece of advice (and unfortunately the most time consuming) is to PRACTICE. Most of the time, when someone is nervous about not having enough to talk about, it’s because their social muscles are out of shape. Like any other habit, conversation is something that must be done regularly if you want it to come naturally. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times… confidence comes from competence. The more you socialize, the less concerned you will be about whether or not you’re good at it. Just get out there as often as possible, and continue to work on keeping a discussion running smoothly and effortlessly.
The most obvious, yet somehow most overlooked, tip is to listen and respond accordingly when in conversation. So many people are worried about coming up short with topics to discuss, but they are completely forgetting that there is another person with whom they are speaking! It isn’t just on you to keep a conversation going; you have to make it a two way street. Keeping things moving along is much easier when you account for that. Remember that you don’t need to just fill every silence. People LOVE talking about themselves, so listening to what your partner is saying and feeding off of those threads can lead to some really deep, beautiful discussions.
Finally, my number one tip for ensuring you never run out of things to say is to do interesting things in your free time. Conversation is so much more exciting when you’re telling stories that have happened to you or someone you know. Often, a person who doesn’t have anything to talk about is not very adventurous outside of their day to day routine. If you want to be able to tell a good story, you have to give yourself the opportunity to have unique experiences. Take an off-the-wall class of some kind, travel somewhere you have never been, do interesting things in your city, join a competitive laser-tag team. Being an active person makes it much easier to carry on a fun, dynamic discussion. People will be more involved in what you are saying, and you will be more confident that you have enough to talk about. Just get out there and get creative with your free time!
These certainly aren’t expert level tips, but it is a great place to start. If you are worried about losing steam when talking with others, make sure you follow the advice listed above. You will gain confidence, become a better conversational partner, and have a life that you won’t be able to stop talking about.