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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.


  • 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?"
  • TIP: 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.
  • TIP: 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?'
  • TIP: 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.
  • FACT: 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.

You Will Need

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

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