Good conversation skills help you build rapport, get buy-ins, get your point across succinctly and leverage it to get desired results.
Make sure you are understood:
If people say “I don’t understand…” frequently after you have made a comment, step back and evaluate your speaking skills. Do you dictate or talk too fast? Do you find people ’slow-minded’? Upgrade or downgrade your vocabulary to suit your audience, and speak in the language that connects with your listener. Avoid rambling or talking excessively as it shows lack of focus or concern for time.
Good listening skills help build trust as it shows your
interest levels. Ask relevant questions, use the person’s name often and use gestures (eye contact, nodding, smiling) to show you are listening.
Talking to inattentive people: People who break eye contact or look distracted can be brought back into the conversation by saying their name – a skill perfected by school teachers!
Disagreeing gracefully: Respect the fact that people have different viewpoints. When it’s apparent that you’ve reached a roadblock, deflect to a neutral topic by saying something like - “We have such diverse viewpoints, so…”
Changing tracks: To change the subject, steer tactfully during a break in the conversation. If the break does not come, interject with - “Tell me more about …” or “Going back to…”
Cutting the conversation short: If you are not interested in a conversation, you can cut it short politely. Use non-verbal signals like breaking eye contact with the person speaking. Introduce him/ her to another person to shift the spotlight or exit politely saying, “I spotted an ex-colleague...” or “I’m going to the bar for a refill”. If you are in a telephonic conversation, extract yourself by saying, “I am entering a scheduled teleconference / meeting in a couple of minutes”.
Handling the “showoff”: Ignore and try to change the topic. Alternately say “How magnificent” a few times and move on.
Communicate disapproval: You can communicate disapproval by saying nothing or communicating without any facial expressions. Handling conversation in an elevator: Resist engaging in a conversation in an elevator – a smile or nod is adequate.
Ending a conversation: Indicate that you are signing off saying something like - “Before we finish, I wanted to add…” End gracefully, saying - “It’s been great meeting you” or “Thanks for your wonderful insights”. Today’s business leaders’ know how to communicate effectively, get others to speak and practice active listening. In short, they know what to say, how to say it and when to say nothing!