Conversation Skills for Success

Dynamic communication is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become a dynamic communicator, you have to master three basic skills: 1) conversation, 2) writing, and 3) presenting.

Conversation skills are really important for success.  If you are a good conversationalist, you can speak to anyone at any time.  This can be really helpful in building a solid network of contacts on whom you can rely as you move through your life and career.

People tell me that I’m a good conversationalist.  I like to hear that because I work hard at conversation.  I really listen to what other people have to say.  And, I’m lucky because I genuinely like meeting and speaking new people.  But listening well and liking people isn’t always enough.

Here are some of the tips that have helped me in my quest to become a good conversationalist.

  • Be honest.  When you’re honest, you don’t have to remember what lies you told to what person.  Honesty, besides being the best policy, makes your life easier.
  • Be humble.  Braggarts generally don’t fare well over the long run.  Remember the old saying “lions don’t need to roar”.
  • Be courteous.  It cost you nothing, and it can mean everything to the other person.  Courtesy also helps you get what you want.  You really do get my flies with honey than vinegar.
  • Look at the person with whom you’re having a conversation.  People like it when you look them in the eye.  They trust you more.
  • Use a person’s name when you are in conversation.  Everybody likes to hear their own name.
  • Let people finish what they are saying.  When you interrupt, you run the risk of annoying the other person; but more importantly, you run the bigger risk of missing something important that he or she has to say.
  • Keep your cool.  Any fool can get upset and angry.  It takes a real lady or gentleman to handle difficult situations calmly and with aplomb.
  • Be responsible for yourself.  No one can make you angry.  No matter what another person does, you can always choose to act in a civil, forthright, constructive manner. 
  • Build and nurture relationships with other people.  Extend yourself.  Show some initiative, introduce yourself to people you don’t know, engage them in conversation.
  • Work hard at relating to all kinds of people.  People who are different from you might make you feel uncomfortable at first.  However, they are the people from whom you are likely to learn the most.
  • Listen well and demonstrate your point of view.  Ask questions if you don’t understand.  Repeat your understanding to make sure you got it right. 
  • Be receptive to feedback.  Thank the other person for his or her feedback.  Use it as you see fit.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are dynamic communicators.  Outstanding communicators are great conversationalists.  If you want to become a great conversationalist, you need to develop a genuine interest in other people and what they have to say.  You need to listen well and respond in an appropriate manner.  Being honest, humble and courteous are important if you want to become known as a great conversationalist.  You can build a strong foundation for your personal and professional success by learning and practicing a few simple common sense conversation skills.

That’s my take on conversation skills and success.  What’s yours?  Who are the great conversationalists in your life?  Leave a comment telling us why they are so good.  I really appreciate all of the comments I receive.  As always, thanks for reading.


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