How to Never Have Awkward Silences in Conversations

Mar 2, 2018 -

You are doing well on your first date or social interaction with a new co-worker. You exchange pleasantries and for the first five minutes, all is well. Then comes the dreaded awkward silence. You blank out and you can sense the other person’s eyes wander and look for other people to talk to.
Play ‘reminds me of’ – Look to the environment and pick something that reminds you of something. This could help in opening up additional conversational threads that lead to more topics to talk about. Another thing you could do is tack on to what someone else just talk about and say that that ‘reminds you of’… People are attracted to people that are similar to themselves and related stories can help build a conversation bridge.
Ask open-ended questions – Rather than ask questions that have “yes” or “no” responses, ask people “how” and “why” questions. For example, how do you like California? Why did you choose being a nurse as a career? These questions will help the other person open up and they will start to talk about things that they are interested in.
Use revival questions– When you are in a new group and the conversation dies, ask “how do you know one another?” If you are just talking to one person, ask “so, what’s your story?” They will guide you to things they want to talk about. The question is so open that they will most likely ask “what do you mean? do you mean for work or for fun?” To which you gauge their tone of their voice and based on that lead the conversation to something they enjoy. Another question that can revive conversation is asking if they have any exciting plans for the future.
Make a complementary cold read – Begin your statement with, “you look like the type that would be good with… kids or someone that is into hiking. If you are right, the other person will feel connected and start to talk about that particular interest. If not, then you can talk about what led you to think that way.
Flip the script allow the other person to lead the conversation – If you get more comfortable with silence and take a deep breath, more times than not the other person will make a comment. If you repeat the last thing someone says, that allows them to continue to talk about their story.
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