If you want to be a better conversationalist, say goodbye to these 9 common habits

Engaging in meaningful conversations is a skill that many of us underestimate. Yet, it’s a critical element to building authentic connections and relationships.

Unfortunately, many of us are unknowingly sabotaging our conversations with habits we’ve picked up over time. These habits often stem from good intentions, but end up causing misunderstandings or even conflicts.

The key to becoming a better conversationalist lies not only in what we should do, but also in recognizing what we shouldn’t.

So, if you’re ready to elevate your conversations and build deeper connections, it’s time to say goodbye to these 9 common habits.

1) Dominating the conversation

Picture this: you’re engrossed in a conversation with a friend, eager to share your latest adventures. But as you dive into your story, you notice something—your friend’s eyes glaze over, their body language signaling impatience. It dawns on you: you’ve been doing all the talking, leaving little room for them to chime in.

This habit sends a message that our thoughts and ideas are more important than theirs, which can lead to feelings of frustration and disconnection.

To truly connect, we must learn to give others the floor. That means holding back our own anecdotes and opinions, and instead, tuning in to their thoughts and feelings.

2) Not being present

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s common to find ourselves physically present but mentally checked out during conversations. Maybe we’re preoccupied with our phones or lost in our own thoughts. But this detachment can leave the speaker feeling unimportant and unheard.

Being a good listener means making a conscious effort to be fully engaged. It’s about putting aside distractions and giving the speaker our complete attention.

I’ve found that consciously choosing to be fully present during conversations has opened up a whole new level of understanding and connection. Not only am I able to better comprehend the other person’s perspective, but I also notice subtle cues that I would have otherwise missed.

3) Failing to embrace vulnerability

Vulnerability is often misunderstood as a sign of weakness, but in reality, it’s a powerful tool for building deeper connections. By opening up and sharing our thoughts, experiences, and fears, we invite others to do the same, fostering empathy and understanding.

However, embracing vulnerability can be challenging. It requires us to confront our insecurities and fears of judgement. But remember, it’s in these moments of authenticity that true connections are formed.

To better understand this, I invite you to watch my video on imposter syndrome. In it, I discuss how feeling like an ‘imposter’ is not a flaw to be fought against, but a sign of deep self-awareness and a catalyst for authentic growth and empowerment.

YouTube video

Embrace your vulnerabilities, recognize your achievements without external validation, and pursue a path of self-improvement grounded in genuine self-acceptance. It’s through this process that we can become more present and engaged conversationalists.

If this resonates with you and you want to join over 20,000 others exploring living a life with more purpose and freedom, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

4) Avoiding difficult conversations

It’s totally natural to want to dodge those tough talks. Who enjoys confrontation, right? 

But skirting around them can lead to all sorts of issues—resentment, misunderstandings, you name it. Plus, it stops us from really being ourselves and staying true to what we believe in.

What if we saw those tricky convos as chances to level up? Think of them as personal growth workouts, teaching us to empathize, understand others better, and strengthen our bonds.

Next time you’re faced with one, lean in. You might just come out stronger on the other side.

5) Failing to respect differing viewpoints

Disagreement If you want to be a better conversationalist, say goodbye to these 9 common habits

In the world of conversations, it’s like we’re all bringing different flavors to the table—different beliefs, values, and outlooks. And hey, clashes are bound to happen when our viewpoints don’t quite match up.

But here’s the kicker: shutting down others’ perspectives doesn’t just put a cork in the conversation—it stifles our own growth too. 

Instead of seeing these differences as showdowns, we could see them as chances to expand our minds. It’s usually through embracing this diversity that we can cook up a world that’s kinder and more inclusive for everyone.

6) Overcompensating with positivity

When it comes to sharpening our conversational skills, we often aim to keep things cheery and light. We want everyone to have a good time, right? But here’s the plot twist: too much sunshine and rainbows can sometimes feel fake and forced.

In trying to create a positive facade, we may unwittingly dismiss or invalidate the real feelings and experiences of others. This can lead to superficial conversations that lack depth and sincerity.

True conversations involve shared understanding and mutual empathy. It’s about being genuine and acknowledging the full spectrum of human emotions – joy, sadness, frustration, excitement, fear, love, and everything in between.

7) Relying on clichés and generic responses

We often fall back on clichés and generic responses in our conversations, like “Everything happens for a reason” or “It is what it is.” While these phrases can offer comfort, they risk sounding dismissive or insincere.

Here’s the thing: using clichés can diminish the individuality of the person we’re speaking with, as if we’re applying a one-size-fits-all solution to their situation. This may not align with their emotions or viewpoints.

Being a better conversationalist means genuinely listening, empathizing with their experiences, and crafting responses that honor their unique perspective.

8) Not asking enough questions

A common habit that can hinder our conversations is not asking enough questions. When we don’t show curiosity about the other person’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences, our conversations can become one-sided and lack depth.

Asking questions signals our interest in the other person and invites them to share more about themselves. It creates a space for mutual understanding and connection, which is vital for meaningful conversations.

Remember, it’s not about interrogating the other person or using questions to steer the conversation toward our own interests. It’s about showing genuine curiosity and fostering a mutual exchange of ideas and experiences.

9) Ignoring non-verbal cues

Our conversations are not just about the words we say. They also involve non-verbal cues like facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Ignoring these cues can lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities for deeper connection.

Being attentive to non-verbal cues can help us understand the other person’s feelings and intentions more accurately. It allows us to respond in a more empathetic and appropriate way, thus enhancing the quality of our conversations.

As we strive to become better conversationalists, let’s remember the importance of non-verbal communication. It’s a powerful tool for building more authentic and meaningful connections.

Transforming our conversations: A journey worth taking

Each conversation we have is a chance to build authentic relationships, learn new perspectives, and contribute positively to the world around us. It’s through these interactions that we can foster a sense of belonging and community, inspiring each other to live more authentically and purposefully.

Improving our conversational skills isn’t about mastering a set of techniques. It’s about embarking on a journey of self-awareness and personal growth. It’s about aligning our interactions with our deepest values and beliefs, creating space for mutual respect and understanding.

As you continue on this journey, I invite you to join over 20,000 others who are exploring how to live life with more purpose and freedom. Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Now I’d like you to ponder this question: What steps will you take today to become a better conversationalist? Remember, the smallest changes can lead to the biggest shifts in our lives.

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Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibly.

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