What to do when the conversation dies -- 3 tips

Published: 08th September 2010
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Let's say you're dating an attractive girl or a good looking guy. He or she is not a big talker. Maybe you aren't either. Maybe you've already talked about your hobbies, your family and your jobs. Nothing else seems to come to mind, and you think he or she is not helping much! What to do?

What you have already been doing is engaging in small talk, which is good. This is wholesome and satisfying conversation, light, not too filling, and certainly overly "heavy!"

But small talk does give you an idea of her likes and dislikes. You know what she can select discuss and you even have a general idea of what topics she might like to leave alone. So, since you have already been engaging in small talk, you already have a considerable foundation built up to your conversational efforts.

But now are you getting "all talked out?" Perhaps you're experiencing those painful silences. Is the conversation dying? At least you feel like that's what your date might be thinking. How do you get over these bumps in the road?

1. Ask open questions

Understand the difference between open and closed questions.

A closed question is "did you have a good day today?" That is a question that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no."

An open question is one that cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." Such as "what did you do today?"

Two good examples of wprds that start open questions are "why" and "how." You can use these frequently during the conversation without being redundant or repetitive or annoying. Just ask about different things in vary your questions.

2. Go back to something that has already been brought up in the conversation but not fully developed.

A conversation is like the branches of a tree. Each topic can lead to more topics, which lead to still more topics. But no topic is ever really completely exhausted.

It is impossible to completely exhaust all that there is to say on any subject on earth. When we converse, we are really like the squirrel who is jumping from branch to branch, from one to the other. The squirrel never goes to the end of every single branch to chew on every single leaf!

Conversation is much the same way. All the possible subtopics (leaves) of a conversation are never fully explored. Something causes us to jump to a different topic (usually it is something in the current conversation that reminds us of something else).

So the solution is, when you run out of something to say in the current topic, you go back to explore something that was brought up earlier but not fully developed. You do this by saying things like: "Earlier you are saying... how do you feel about that? "Or, "earlier you were talking about... I had a similar thing happened to me when..."

3. Listen, listen, listen.

Needless to say, in order to go back to explore a topic that was brought up earlier in the conversation, you must listen very carefully to what has been said. If you allow your mind to wander, you will be afraid to ask about something for fear it was already explained and you simply weren't paying attention. Also, listening will help you to absorb what was said and to understand the many potential avenues in which a conversation could still flow.

Follow these tips and you will greatly increase your chances of always being able to keep the conversation going, no matter what!

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