Three Steps to Becoming a Good Conversationalist

Today is Thursday, so this post is on communication skills.

As you recall, people with good communication skills have three things in common:

  1. They are good conversationalists.
  2. They write clearly and succinctly.
  3. They make effective presentations.

Today, I’d like to focus on conversation skills. 

Last week, Cathy had a disappointing conversation with an old friend.  When I asked her why, she said, “She told me all about her, her kids and her grandkids.  She never once asked about me or you.”  My response was that I’ve noticed this trend too.  Sometimes when I greet someone and ask “How are you?” they’ll tell me in great detail, but won’t even say, “And how are you?”  I’ve chalked this up to a trend away from extending even the most simple courtesies to others in our society.

Later that same day, I came across a great quote from Dale Carnegie, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Now that’s some common sense advice; especially for becoming a good conversationalist.  If you want to become a good conversationalist, you need master only one technique, ask thoughtful questions.  People like to talk about themselves.  When you ask good questions, you provide them with the opportunity to do so. 

When you ask questions, really listen to answers and respond appropriately, you are demonstrating a real interest in other people.  And, as Dale Carnegie suggests you’ll make lots of friends by just being interested in others.

The common sense point here is simple.  Becoming a good conversationalist is as easy as one, two three.  1) Ask questions.  2) Listen.  3) Respond appropriately.  What could be easier?

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website to subscribe to my monthly ezine and for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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