How to be a good conversationist
Some say charm is something you are born with. “It’s in my genes,” a few may say. However there is a secret to being charming. It starts with how you communicate with others. In other words, how you speak, what you say, and how you react to other’s conversations is what can make the difference between being ‘likable’ or being ‘disliked.’
The New York times recently published an article providing 3 great tips into becoming a good conversationist. 'In summary here are the main points:
Be genuine and know the “three tiers of conversations.” In the tier 1 category there are topics that are safe to speak about. Usually these include conversations about sports, pop culture, celebrities, etc. Tier 2 has conversations that may be a bit controversial, such as religion, politics, etc. In tier 3 topics become a bit more personal, such as family, finance, and health.
Be more interested to be more interesting. People like to be listened to. So in order to be likable (aka: ‘charming’ to others) ask open questions and listen to them. If you do that, their first impression will be that you are an interesting person.
Don’t be a conversation hog. Share the conversation. Be attentive and give eye contact. Make active and engaged expressions. If you want to say something while the other person is speaking, wait till they are done and bring it up later. Ask questions pertinent to what the others are saying.