We've all been stuck in boring, meaningless conversations devoid of anything important.
I don't know about you, but that does NOT bring me fulfillment. I love talking about topics that fill my cup and energize me. My favorite topics are God, the future, plans, ideas, etc. I throughly enjoy talking to people or friends who care about the same things. We feed off each other, bounce ideas around and get energized! Do you feel the same way?
If so, here are some tips to get out of those conversations that suck!
1. Ask better questions
Sometimes you need to be the conversation starter or steer people in a more positive direction. So take the lead.
Ask questions like,
"What are you looking forward to this year?"
"What's been the highlight of your week/day/month?"
"Anything exciting going on this week?"
"What's the most interesting experience you've had?"
"What motivates you?"
"What inspires you?"
These questions are great conversation starters and often you could ask follow up questions and get the conversation flowing. You could be pleasantly surprised about what you learn!
2. Actively listen
Don't listen with the intention to immediately answer by sharing about yourself. Don't think about how you're going to reply as someone is speaking, because in that case, you'd be just listening, not fully aware or present. Instead, be calm, present, and pay attention to people's silent communication i.e. their body language.
There's a whole lot more to dive deep about this, so here's an article that goes further in depth about active listening.
Mirroring is a great way to create a connection with others and is also important when negotiating. Mirroring occurs as you become aware of people's body language, and essentially mirroring their tone of voice and/or pitch, posture, expressions, emotions, or gestures, to build rapport. Obviously, it's not something you can fake (as that would be very obvious and contrary to the point), but to naturally incorporate. For example, if someone talks very fast, and you talk very slow, talking that slow is going to drive them nuts, and it disconnects both people from the conversation.
My favorite book on this, Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss, goes into depth about the real life application of mirroring, and other techniques to forge a connection with others.
4. Be intentional
When it's your turn to speak, be intentional about what you say. Be honest and don't say what you don't mean. Realize that trust can form or break by speaking the truth or speaking lies. Be kind always. Be genuine.