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Ask better questions

We like to talk about topics that interest us. But to have better conversations, step out of yourself for a moment and think more about the other person.

Ask open-ended questions, starting with who, what, when, where, why or how. "What was that like?" "How did that feel?" Research shows that people who as questions tend to be better liked by their conversation partners.

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We crave meaningful conversation

While we know the value of small talk, it still falls short of what many people are craving: meaningful conversation, where we can dive deeper.

A key feature of deeper conversations is that you get absorbed in the conversation and learn something important about yourself, the other person...

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Three components that make conversations valuable

  • Self-expression - the sharing of key aspects of who you are as a person. Most of us are hungry for an opportunity to share what we're thinking and explore things that matter to us. Sharing them with an interested listener who validates those thoughts make us feel understood...

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Come ready to learn

Suppose you know that you're going to meet a particular person or group of people. In that case, the chances are that meaningful conversation will not so much be derived from an exchange of personal information but from having a satisfying conversation about an interesting topic or issue.

...

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Listen to the answers

A good conversation is only possible if you are really listening. Stephen Covey writes that most of us don't listen with the intent to understand; we listen to reply.

Part of the pleasure of better-quality conversations comes from being curious. If you struggle listening t...

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Small talk as a necessary first step

While small talk doesn't produce intellectual reflection or arouse reflection, the initial conversational exchanges fulfil a social function.

Small talk can be seen as the inactive ingredient in a medicine that holds the pill together. In other words, small talk la...

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Be willing to share about yourself

There is a critical moment of transition in the development of any relationship - it is the moment when you decide to share something more personal about yourself.

Exposing a part of your inner self will encourage your partner to open up too. If it feels daunting, remembe...

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The value of small talk

The value of small talk

Small talk can be defined by how much information is exchanged. If you know nothing more about the other person than you knew before the conversation, then it is small talk.

Research shows that small talk with people, even with strangers, can boost our mood. While small ta...

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Be prepared to give and take

A good conversation is more likely to happen if you follow this simple rule: I will give you the space to speak and will listen to what you say. You show interest in the other person, and the person shows interest in what you have to say.

This is not easy and perhaps the r...

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How to connect with people

To break the ice with a stranger or an acquaintance, comment on your shared situation. For example, commenting on the conference talk you've both just listened to, or the traffic or weather. You can also try giving a compliment, or ask the other person something about themselves....

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micee

I like jazz music and bacon. Learning new things is one of my obsessions.

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Ask open-ended questions

Ask open-ended questions

While there are plenty of situations where closed-ended questions are appropriate, couples who consistently communicate with open-ended questions, to spark “big talk,” show that they have a sincere interest in their partners and want to create closeness.

7. Ask Questions

The key, however, is to ask open-ended questions . That is, ask questions that don’t have a simple “yes or no” answer.

It’s the difference between Do you like living here? and What do you think about living here? Or the difference between Where did you...

How to ask better questions

  • Ask open-ended questions: they unlock more information from people
  • Ask “why” 3 times:  the easiest way to deepen the level of a conversation
  • Ask about specifics, not generalizations
  • Frame questions around a person’s reactions to experiences...

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