Becoming More Interesting

Conversation Escalation Make Small Talk Sexy

How to start a conversation in English

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You might assume that to become more interesting you'd need some dazzling conversation on your part. However, you can easily become more interesting to other people simply by focusing on the other person - both on the words they use and the body language they demonstrate. The key to being perceived as interesting yourself is actually to just be interested in what the other person is saying. By demonstrating interest in the other person, you present yourself to them as an engaging, thoughtful, and enjoyable person to converse with. That makes you more interesting to them and, in turn, makes them keen to find out more about you.

Copying is the highest form of flattery and one of the fastest ways to become more interesting without too much effort.

Recognising the patterns of a conversation

A conversation has a pattern to it, which varies depending on who you're talking to. For example, conversations with your granny may be quite slow, and you know that when she starts telling you one of her stories nothing will interrupt her until she's finished. With your best friend, conversation may be fast and animated, and with your boss, calm and measured.

Following the conversation as it progresses

When you strike up a conversation with someone, and it goes well, the conversation moves through several different stages. In fact, making conversation with someone you're trying to get to know is a bit like dancing to music at a wedding. First come the same old tunes that everyone knows and which get you in the mood. Next, as the atmosphere hots up, you find the people who like the tracks you like and get on down to those. Finally, you hit the smoochy numbers and the partner you've got to know over the evening is suddenly up close and personal. If the music jumped from classical to jazz to hip hop, you wouldn't know if you were coming or going and the dancing wouldn't last very long. The same goes for your lines of conversation.

Being positive

Language makes a big difference to how you view something. Choose your words carefully and you're more interesting to the people you want to impress. Being positive is absolutely crucial.

Talking positively helps you maintain an open posture, an attractive tone of voice, and an animated and attractive facial expression - see Figure 9-1. Negative language will close your posture - you may find your arms and/or legs start crossing - and the quality of your voice will suffer. You start to close the conversation down.

Figure 9-1: Positive posture.

Positive language has a huge effect on the people you're speaking to. They feel energised around you and want to further the conversation. You'll be a magnet for other conversations in the room, too.

Make a list of all the negative words and phrases you routinely use and work out positive replacements. See how much better you feel generally after only a couple of days of ditching the negatives. Table 9-1 lists some positive alternatives to the negative phrases you may find yourself saying.

No problems here

I leased a car recently and everything that could go wrong with it, did. Every time I rang the agency, the man was sweetness and light, and convinced it would all be sorted soon. After a couple of calls, I noticed that he never used the word 'problem', even though I was suffering from many of them thanks to his organisation. He only had challenges'. Eventually, every time I heard him use the phrase, 'It's a bit of a challenge, but we'll fix it', I laughed. I liked his positive approach to things and have banned the word 'problem' from my vocabulary. My life is now full of little challenges and they're much nicer to conquer than problems are to solve.

Table 9-1

Positive Alternatives

Replace This

With This

I'm dreading this

I can't wait to try

I had a dreadful journey here

It was an unusual but eventful trip

I'm useless

I'll get it right next time

I'm bored

Let's find something more fun to do

I hate that

I'm gradually acquiring the taste for

This is a problem

I'm working on a challenge

UNG/

Avoid putting yourself down at the end of sentences; doing so's unattractive and boring.

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