By Alexia Hudson
We live in a tech-driven world that enables us to have more “connections” or “friends,” but many of us are left with fragmented networks where little one-on-one interaction takes place. So if you’re one of the people wondering if there’s still a way to master the art of conversation beyond text acronyms and status updates, read on.
Think of the art of conversation as an exercise in delicate social engineering where you interact and engage with individuals in a meaningful way. Not only will this philosophy help you score more invitations to highbrow social events in your hometown, it may also lead to solid career moves.
Still in need of more practical advice on how to successfully master the art of conversation? Here are six tips to get you started:
1. Check your body language and facial expressions before you introduce yourself. Exude confidence in your posture and don’t forget to smile.
2. Have some “factoids” and interesting tidbits to strike up a conversation. For example, “Lindsey Lohan may surprise us one day. After all, legendary actress Heddy Lamarr developed the prototype for wireless communication. ” Or “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where my next travel destination will be.” People are generally more inclined to engage in chats about general topics that they may be able to relate to.
3. Make a proclamation to start a conversation. One line I have used successfully: “I decided to have a BlackBerry-free day to give my brain a techno break and get back to simple pleasures, like good face-to-face conversation.”
4. Always consider the other person by talking in “digestible bits” rather than in long and rambling sentences. In the words of Milton Wright, author of the 1936 classic The Art of Conversation, “a monologue is not a conversation.”
5. Steer away from hot button topics like religion and politics unless you can communicate a very centrist position.
6. If the conversation was a good one, offer to follow up with the person via Facebook or LinkedIn. Try to get together within a month for breakfast or lunch. Save cocktail dates (where you can let down your guard) for friends, spouses, and significant others.
Alexia Hudson is the creator of The Black Socialite Blog.