Good conversation skills can be learned and practiced, and it's never too late to start. Follow these tips for better conversations.

When Speaking

  • Start small - Small talk allows people to connect and makes conversations more comfortable.

  • Ask permission - Ask permission before starting crucial conversations to create a safe space and show respect.

  • Manage your tone of voice - Your tone conveys many things, such as mood and intention. Be sure to use the appropriate tone and avoid being harsh or yelling. 

  • “Sandwich” it - Put your request or distressing message in between two positive statements.

  • Use “I” Statements - "I" statements allow you to assert yourself without being accusatory. ("I feel frustrated when you are late to dinner. It makes me worry about you.")

When Listening

  • Listen - Nod and verbalize to let the speaker know you're paying attention and are focusing on what they are saying.

  • Validate - Validation is recognizing and accepting another's thoughts and feelings. You can still disagree with someone while providing validation.

  • Consider your timing - Don't rush things. Take your time, reflect on the conversation. Carefully consider your reply before you speak.

Extra Tips

  • Prepare and practice - Engage in conversation with a friend and actively practice the techniques that you are learning.

  • Relax your body and take care of yourself - Body language can say a lot.

  • Be open-minded - Try to let go of any attachment to the outcome.

The art of conversation is something people have been studying for centuries. Don't beat yourself up if you're not perfect at it just yet. Practice will make you a better conversationalist.