Here are pointers to help fill those awkward silences. You might be surprised by what someone has to say once you get them to open up.
You will need
- Listening skills
- Eye contact
- Open-ended questions
Step 1 Encourage talking Encourage someone to talk about themselves by asking questions like, ‘What do you do for a living?’ or “What kinds of movies do you like?”
People are flattered by someone’s interest and like to talk about themselves.
Step 2 Show interest Display an interest in a wide range of topics.
Step 3 Listen quietly Listen quietly and maintain eye contact. The more trusted and sensitive their audience, the more willing people are to open up and engage.
Avoid being intrusive, prying, or gossipy.
Step 4 Respond enthusiastically Respond enthusiastically to comments to keep someone talking. Keep your enthusiasm sounds genuine.
Step 5 Encourage further conversation Encourage further conversation by asking who, what, why, when, where, and how questions, like: ‘What did you do?’ and ‘When was this?’
Keep it low key, so it doesn’t feel like you’re interrogating.
Step 6 Don't be afraid to admit your ignorance Don’t be afraid to admit your ignorance when discussing a topic. That gives the other person an opportunity to show their knowledge of the subject.
Did you know? Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 film, The Conversation, lost the Oscar to his other nominated film that year, The Godfather, Part II.