How to Keep a Conversation Going

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.


Up next in How to Improve Your Communication Skills (68 videos)

Whether you're dealing with friends, family, a lover, or co-workers, you'll benefit from the communication skills taught in this Howcast video series. Among the advice included: how to tell someone off; how to deliver an ultimatum; how to complain; how to solve creative differences; how to give a compliment; how to take criticism; how to apologize; how to read social cues; how to learn to say no; and much more.


You Will Need

  • Interest
  • Listening skills
  • Eye contact
  • Enthusiasm
  • Open-ended questions
  • Humility


  1. 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?"

  2. People are flattered by someone's interest and like to talk about themselves.

  3. Step 2

    Show interest

    Display an interest in a wide range of topics.

  4. 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.

  5. Avoid being intrusive, prying, or gossipy.

  6. Step 4

    Respond enthusiastically

    Respond enthusiastically to comments to keep someone talking. Keep your enthusiasm sounds genuine.

  7. 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?'

  8. Keep it low key, so it doesn't feel like you're interrogating.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.